Ex-NU professor charged in River North murder waives extradition in first court appearance

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The former Northwestern University professor charged in a River North murder waived extradition at his first court appearance in California Monday afternoon.

Wyndham Lathem appeared in a red jumpsuit and was very emotional at his hearing, fighting back tears and looking to friends who attended the hearing for support. The former professor had made his way to California to visit close friends and family, officials said, but they did not say how he got there.

"He has people who adore him, who have known him for decades. They all refer to him as intelligent, kind, a gentle soul, and I think as the case progresses you're going to see that side of him," his attorney Kenneth Wine said.

Lathem is accused of stabbing Trenton Cornell-Duranleau to death. An Oxford University employee Andrew Warren is charged as well. Both suspects are being held in California.

On Friday, Lathem turned himself in to U.S. Marshals in Oakland after a week-long manhunt and Warren surrendered to police in San Francisco.

"Extradition was waived today and Dr. Lathem will be headed back to Chicago in the next couple of weeks. I don't know anything about the case and anybody who says they do is just speculating, and you'd be a fool to do so," said Wine.

Having waived extradition, the state of Illinois now has 30 days to pick Lathem up in California and take him back to the state, Wine said.

Lathem is expected back in Cook County within the next few weeks.

Just a few days before Duranleau was found dead on July 27 in Lathem's River North apartment, Warren left his home in England to come to the U.S. without telling his friends or family where he was going or why.

Warren remains in San Francisco police custody and is expected to make his first court appearance Friday morning.

Durenleau, who was a licensed cosmetologist, grew up in Michigan and just recently started living with Lathem. The motive in this murder is still unclear.

Trenton Cornell-Duranleau

After Lathem returns to Illinois he will have a bond hearing to determine whether he will be allowed to be released from jail while he awaits trial.

Lathem, 42, was an associate professor of microbiology at Northwestern. The university announced Monday afternoon that he had been terminated.

"Northwestern University has terminated the employment of Wyndham Lathem, an associated professor of microbiology-immunology, effective Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. Lathem was terminated for the act of fleeing from police when there was an arrest warrant out for him. Lathem, who had been a faculty member since 2007, continues to be banned from entering Northwestern University campuses," the university said in a statement.

Before the arrests, sources say Lathem sent a video to his friends and family apologizing for what he called the biggest mistake of his life.

So far, police have not released a motive and adding to the mystery, they believe the same day as the murder, an hour away in Wisconsin, the two suspects made a mysterious $1,000 donation to a public library in Duranleau's name.

Wine released a statement Monday saying, "Since the beginning of this case, the defense has received dozens of calls and letters of support of Dr. Lathem, from friends and colleagues who have known him for decades. They all describe him in the same way - a kind, intelligent and gentle soul, and a loyal and trusted friend. What he is accused of is totally contrary to the way he has lived his entire life.

"That being said, this is the first step in a long process. At this time, it is critical to remind everyone, press and public alike, that all criminal cases are tried in courtrooms, and not the press. The reasons for this are obvious. Speculation and rumor have no place in the fact finding process, and work to deny defendants the right to a fair trial.

"All of us want the truth to come out, but it will take time and patience. Please, I urge you to be patient, suspend your judgments, and let the facts come out in the courtroom as the Constitution intends."
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