Ex-Northwestern professor accused in River North murder denied bail 2nd time in effort to help research COVID-19

CHICAGO -- A former Northwestern University professor accused of murdering his boyfriend was again denied release Friday from a Chicago jail so that his research skills can be used to battle COVID-19.

Attorneys for Wyndham Lathem argued a professor in North Carolina had arranged for the microbiologist and immunologist to do research. They also said Lathem's friends rented him a Chicago apartment where he could live with an ankle bracelet and a court-appointed monitor.

In rejecting the arguments, Cook County Circuit Judge Charles Burns said given Lathem's aptitude for covering his tracks, his release from jail would not be appropriate and "opens up more problems than it solves."

Burns in April rejected Lathem's first attempt to gain release.

Lathem is accused in the July 2017 stabbing death of Trenton Cornell-Duranleau, 26, in Lathem's high-rise apartment. Lathem and his accomplice, former Oxford University employee Andrew Warren, eluded capture for a week despite a nationwide search. Warren has pleaded guilty to murder and has agreed to testify against Lathem, who has pleaded not guilty to murder charges.

Lathem sent a video to his mother after the slaying with a straightforward confession: "I killed him, I did do it, it wasn't an accident but it was a mistake," Assistant State's Attorney Craig Engebretson said during a hearing.

"This was a thrill kill," Engebretson asserted, alleging Lathem got "despondent" and killed his boyfriend to get a rush. "He may do this again if he gets sad or depressed and wants that thrill again; this is an extremely random, frightening murder."

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