British national recounts murder plot during trial of former Northwestern professor Wyndham Lathem

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Thursday, September 30, 2021
British national recounts murder plot during trial of former Northwestern professor Wyndham Lathem
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Andrew Warren recounts stabbing Trenton Cornell-Duranleau during murder trial of former Northwestern University professor Wyndham Lathem

CHICAGO (WLS) -- In more than an hour of testimony, Andrew Warren outlined how his path crossed with former Northwestern University professor Wyndham Lathem, who is on trial for murdering his then-boyfriend, Trent Cornell-Duranleau, as part of what prosecutors said was a an elaborate sexual fantasy.

Warren's testimony came after opening statements began Monday in 47-year-old Lathem's trial. The 61-year-old British national and former Oxford University employee said the unexpected death of his father in 2016 and torment from his alcoholic sister had "mental impact" and "made [him] feel depressed." He searched the internet to find someone who would kill him and was put in contact with Lathem, who Warren said was also suicidal from losing out on a job.

Warren said the two men made a pact to kill each other: he would shoot Lathem, who would in return "cut [him] open, fatally wound [him]." Lathem flew him to Chicago in July 2017, where they did drugs before driving to St. Louis to unsuccessfully attempt to buy a gun, Warren said.

Lathem then suggested they kill Cornell-Duranleau, Warren said. He had second thoughts, but eventually joined Lathem in stabbing the 26-year-old hairstylist nearly 70 times, nearly decapitating him. They made anonymous donations in Cornell-Duranleau's name and failed at a suicide attempt after the stabbing, Warren added.

The two men drove cross country to California, where they turned themselves in to authorities eight days after the stabbing, Warren said, adding that he "had enough of being on the run" and wanted to "get everything off [his] chest." He pleaded guilty to the crime in 2019 and is serving a 45-year sentence in exchange for his testimony against Lathem.

The trial, which comes four years after Lathem was arrested in connection with the murder, is expected to last a couple of weeks. Lathem is expected to take the stand on his own behalf at some point during the course of the trial.