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Jury to hear bizarre case of former Northwestern professor accused of sexual thrill-killing

Megan Crepeau, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

Macabre details

In bringing the charges after their arrest in August 2017, prosecutors gave the following account of how they alleged the killing happened:

Lathem and Warren had chatted online for months about their shared fantasy of killing other people and themselves.

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 then planned to then kill each other simultaneously — Warren shooting Lathem while Lathem stabbed Warren.

Lathem lured Cornell-Duranleau to his apartment in the 500 block of North State Street and texted Warren that they would kill him that night.

Warren came over about 4:30 a.m. the next day after Cornell-Duranleau had fallen asleep in Lathem’s apartment. Lathem showed Warren a 6-inch drywall knife saw and gave him a cellphone with instructions to record video of Lathem fatally stabbing Cornell-Duranleau.


As Warren stood in the doorway to the bedroom with his cellphone in hand, Lathem stabbed the sleeping Cornell-Duranleau repeatedly.

Lathem cried to Warren for help, so Warren walked in, put his hands over the victim’s mouth and then hit him in the head with a heavy metal lamp.

As Cornell-Duranleau bled to death in the bedroom, his attackers showered and then tried to clean up the scene, prosecutors said.

They left Lathem’s apartment in the early morning hours and fled, prosecutors said, sparking a nationwide search that ended when they surrendered to authorities in California nine days later. Warren was arrested in San Francisco, while Lathem surrendered to U.S. marshals at the federal courthouse in Oakland.


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