A professor allegedly murdered his boyfriend as part of a “sexual fantasy” he’d discussed with a man he’d met online, the prosecutor in the case told an Illinois judge on Sunday.
Northwestern microbiologist Wyndham Lathem, 46, and Oxford University employee Andrew Warren, 56, met in an internet chatroom where the two talked about “carrying out their sexual fantasies of killing others and then themselves,” Cook County assistant state’s attorney Natosha Toller said at the men’s bond hearing, according to the Associated Press. The prosecutor did not say if there were any other victims besides Lathem’s boyfriend, 26-year-old hairstylist James Cornell-Duranleau. Lathem has since been fired from Northwestern.
Cornell-Duranleau was asleep in Lathem’s Chicago condo at 4:30am on July 27 when Lathem entered the apartment with Warren, according to Toller. Lathem then allegedly stabbed a drywall saw knife into Cornell-Duranleau’s chest and neck. As Cornell-Duranleau tried to fight back, Warren struck the victim with a lamp and began stabbing Cornell-Duranleau with two kitchen knives as well, Toller said.
Cornell-Duranleau later succumbed to the knife wounds, bleeding to death in his boyfriend’s condo. He was reportedly stabbed 70 times—the force from the stabbing so strong that he was nearly decapitated by the two men. Cornell-Duranleau’s last words were allegedly “Wyndham, what are you doing?”
Lathem and Warren fled, kicking off an eight-day manhunt that ended with the pair surrendering to police in California during August. Both have been charged with first-degree murder.
Lathem sent a video message to his parents and friends while on the run, admitting to killing his boyfriend, saying “he is not the person people thought he was,” according to Toller.
Shortly after the murder, Lathem made a $5,610 cash donation to Chicago’s Howard Brown Health Center in Cornell-Duranleau’s name, as well as a $1,000 donation to a library in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
At the bond hearing, a Cook County judge ordered that both men remain in jail until trial.