British man gets 45 years in prison for slaying committed with Northwestern prof

Andrew Warren testified against NU professor Wyndham Lathem in the chilling murder of Trenton Cornell in River North.

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In this Aug. 18, 2017 file photo, Andrew Warren arrives at a police station as he is escorted by Chicago police, in Chicago.

In this Aug. 18, 2017 file photo, Andrew Warren arrives at a police station as he is escorted by Chicago police, in Chicago.

AP Photos

Andrew Warren, the British man who participated in the brutal slaying of Trenton Cornell at a former Northwestern University professor’s River North apartment in 2017, had few words to say at his sentencing hearing Wednesday.

Warren, 61, initially declined to speak and asked his attorney to tell Cornell’s family he was sorry on his behalf. But when the judge asked if he had statement, Warren ultimately decided to speak up.

“I just want to say that I’m really so sorry, that’s all I have to say,” Warren said quickly.

Cook County Judge Charles Burns then sentenced him to 45 years in prison.

Warren’s sentence was expected: He pleaded guilty in 2019 to the murder and agreed to testify against his co-defendant Wyndham Lathem at trial as part of a deal with prosecutors. Under the deal, prosecutors said they would recommend a 45-year prison term and wouldn’t oppose his efforts if he tried to be transferred back to the United Kingdom to serve his sentence.

Trenton Cornell

Trenton Cornell

Under state law, Warren would be required to serve his full sentence in Illinois, minus credit for 1,658 days he was held in custody. But, if he were to return to England, which grants time off sentences for good behavior, he could face significantly less prison time.

At Lathem’s trial last fall, prosecutors told jurors it was no “sweetheart deal” — there was no guarantee such efforts would work, or that authorities in the U.K. would agree to his transfer.

Lathem, 47, who Burns said he believed was the driving force behind the killing, was sentenced to 53 years in prison last month.

Lathem, a renowned university researcher for his work on the bubonic plague, paid to have Warren fly to Chicago, where they met face-to-face for the first time days before Cornell’s murder.

The two had met over the internet, where they flirted, discussed marrying each other and planned to end their lives in a suicide pact, Warren testified.

He did not expect to return home from his trip to Chicago, he told jurors.

Lathem “was going to cut me open ... and fatally wound me,” Warren said at trial; he was then supposed to shoot Lathem.

Instead, Lathem decided they were going to kill Cornell, 26, who Lathem had been dating.

On the night of the murder, Latham invited Warren to his apartment to help kill Cornell and film it. When Warren arrived, Latham handed him a knife and then crept into a bedroom where Cornell was asleep, Warren said.

Wyndham Lathem

Wyndham Lathem

Cook County sheriff’s office

Lathem began stabbing Cornell first and Warren later joined in, Warren admitted.

Cornell was found stabbed more than 70 times on July 27, 2017.

Warren “could have stopped this crime from happening,” but chose not to, Cornell’s mother, Charlotte Cornell said in her statement in court Wednesday.

“Instead of ending his [own] life, he ended a person’s life who he didn’t even know,” she added.

After the hearing, Charlotte Cornell said she agreed with Warren’s sentence, and said she appreciated that he had come forward “to tell the truth.”

“If it weren’t for Andrew Warren telling the prosecutors and the detectives everything that happened, this case might have been a lot harder for them to put together,” Charlotte Cornell said.

“It’s a strange feeling,” she said of having some empathy for the person who killed her son.

She noted that Warren, when asked at Lathem’s trial, said he didn’t know why he participated in the murder and said “I never will.”

“We’ll never know why either,” she said.

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