Judge Sentences Former Northwestern Professor to 53 Years for ‘Execution’ of Boyfriend During Sex Fantasy

Cook County Police

Cook County Judge Charles Burns called the crime “one of the most cold-blooded, calculated and brutal executions that he has ever seen.”

A former professor at Northwestern University has been sentenced to 53 years behind bars for the “execution” of his boyfriend in 2017 during a sexual fantasy, CBS News reported.

Wyndham Lathem, 47, was found guilty of first-degree murder in October in the death of 26-year-old Trenton Cornell-Duranleau.

The victim was stabbed more than 70 times on July 27, 2017, by Lathem and Andrew Warren, a British man who the professor had paid to come to Chicago to commit the murder with him, prosecutors said.

The microbiologist professor was later fired by Northwestern after he fled the Chicago area following the killing, according to CBS News.

In 2019, Warren pleaded guilty to murder under a plea agreement that called for him to testify against Lathem in exchange for receiving a 45-year prison sentence, CBS News reported.

Lathem, however, testified during his trial that Warren alone stabbed Cornell-Duranleau during what started as a methamphetamine-fueled sexual encounter, CBS News reported.

The professor had communicated for months before with Warren about "carrying out their sexual fantasies of killing others and then themselves," prosecutors previously said.

Cook County Judge Charles Burns called the crime “one of the most cold-blooded, calculated and brutal executions that he has ever seen.”

Judge Burns said Lathem had “treated his lab animals better than he treated” Cornell, according to The Chicago-Sun Times.

“To butcher an individual, Trenton Cornell, the way that he died, in order to fulfill a bizarre, antisocial, perverted fantasy, based on whatever sense of reality, is totally beyond my understanding,” the judge added.

Before sentencing Tuesday, Lathem addressed the victim’s family, saying, “I want Trent’s family to know I have been grief-stricken with remorse since the moment this happened. Every day I think about him and am filled with sadness. I can’t imagine how much worse this has been for them and I am sorry for their loss.”

Lathem’s defense attorney, Adam Sheppard, spoke to the media after the sentencing, saying his client was “disappointed,” in the outcome, according to WGN9.

“He is disappointed, of course,” Sheppard said. “He exhibited sincere remorse throughout all stages of the case — three arrests, trial and sentencing — and he is trying to remain hopeful.”

Trenton Cornell’s mother, Charlotte Cornell, also spoke to reporters and said they are grateful to the prosecutors office, police and victims advocate office, adding, “Their countless hours, days, weeks, months have helped us get some justice for our son. This is nothing that we would ever wish on any family,” according to WGN9.

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