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British national pleads guilty to sex-fantasy killing, agrees to testify against former Northwestern professor

Megan Crepeau, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

CHICAGO -- A British national pleaded guilty to a fatal stabbing with bizarre sex-fantasy overtones Monday and agreed to testify against a former Northwestern University associate professor who is charged in the killing as well.

As part of the deal, Cook County prosecutors agreed to recommend that Andrew Warren be sentenced to 45 years in prison.

Prosecutors allege that Warren, 58 and Wyndham Lathem, then an associate professor of microbiology at Northwestern, fatally stabbed Lathem's boyfriend, Trenton Cornell-Duranleau, 70 times in Lathem's Near North Side high-rise in July 2017 to fulfill a detailed sexual fantasy.

Warren signed a written plea agreement, but Judge Charles Burns took the extraordinary step of declining to make it public until after he could consult with Lathem's attorneys when his case is next up Tuesday at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.

Warren was scheduled to go on trial next week.

Lathem has pleaded not guilty, but no trial date has been set for him.

 

About half a dozen of Cornell-Duranleau's family and supporters left the courtroom Monday without speaking to reporters.

The case's lurid details made international headlines. Lathem and Warren had chatted online for months about their shared fantasy of killing other people and themselves, prosecutors said in 2017 after bringing first-degree murder charges against both.

Here's the account provided by prosecutors at the time:

In late July 2017, Lathem paid for Warren to fly to Chicago, and the two came up with a plan to slay victims of Lathem's choosing. Both men would kill each other simultaneously -- Warren shooting Lathem while Lathem stabbed Warren.

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