From re­spect at elite uni­ver­si­ties to wanted for grue­some mur­der

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

CHICAGO: Af­ter a cross-coun­try man­hunt, a for­mer North­west­ern Univer­sity pro­fes­sor and Univer­sity of Ox­ford em­ployee are be­gin­ning court pro­ceed­ings for the bru­tal stab­bing death of a 26-year-old hair stylist in Chicago. The case has in­volved peculiar twists, in­clud­ing a cash do­na­tion in the vic­tim’s name at a Wis­con­sin li­brary and a video­taped con­fes­sion sent to friends. The two men sur­ren­dered peace­fully in Cal­i­for­nia af­ter eight days as fugi­tives and one ap­peared in court Mon­day.

North­west­ern mi­cro­bi­ol­o­gist Wyn­d­ham Lathem and Ox­ford fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer An­drew War­ren were wanted on first-de­gree mur­der charges for the death of Tren­ton James Cor­nel­lDu­ran­leau. An at­tor­ney says Lathem in­tends to plead not guilty. Here’s a closer look at the case:

The crime

The body of 26-year-old Cor­nel­lDu­ran­leau was found stabbed to death in­side an apart­ment be­long­ing to Lathem in an up­scale neigh­bor­hood near down­town Chicago. The July 27 at­tack was so vi­o­lent the blade of the knife be­lieved to have been used in the stab­bing was bro­ken, po­lice said.

Au­thor­i­ties said the build­ing’s front desk re­ceived an anony­mous call that a crime had been com­mit­ted in the 10th floor apart­ment. When po­lice opened the door, they found Cor­nell-Du­ran­leau’s body. He had al­ready been dead for at least 12 hours. Po­lice said the vic­tim and Lathem had a per­sonal re­la­tion­ship, but they have not elab­o­rated or re­leased a mo­tive.

The pro­fes­sor

Au­thor­i­ties’ pri­mary target in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion has been Lathem, who had been on North­west­ern’s fac­ulty since 2007. The 42-year-old was an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of mi­cro­bi­ol­ogy and im­munol­ogy, though univer­sity of­fi­cials say he pri­mar­ily worked in a re­search lab. Pub­lished in top sci­en­tific jour­nals, he was a sought-af­ter speaker on pneu­monic and bubonic plagues. Over the years, he taught med­i­cal stu­dents or grad­u­ate stu­dents, though he was not teach­ing at the time of the crime, said of­fi­cials with North­west­ern, which has cam­puses in Chicago and subur­ban Evanston.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors said Lathem sent a video to friends and rel­a­tives apol­o­giz­ing for his in­volve­ment in the crime, which he called the “big­gest mis­take of my life.” The video raised con­cern among in­ves­ti­ga­tors that Lathem might kill him­self. Lathem, who was un­der in­ten­sive ob­ser­va­tion over the week­end in jail, ap­peared in court Mon­day, the same day univer­sity of­fi­cials an­nounced his fir­ing. North­west­ern of­fi­cials said Lathem was ter­mi­nated, ef­fec­tive Fri­day, “for the act of flee­ing from po­lice when there was an ar­rest war­rant out for him.”

The vis­i­tor

Less is known about War­ren, who’s Bri­tish. War­ren and Lathem were seen in sur­veil­lance video leav­ing Lathem’s high­rise apart­ment build­ing the day of the stab­bing, but it’s un­clear what War­ren’s re­la­tion­ship was to the other two men. He is in charge of pen­sions and pay­roll at the Univer­sity of Ox­ford’s Somerville Col­lege. Chicago po­lice have said he’s 56 years old, while Cal­i­for­nia au­thor­i­ties booked him into jail at 49 years old. War­ren ar­rived in the US three days be­fore Cor­nell-Du­ran­leau’s death and af­ter be­ing re­ported miss­ing in Great Bri­tain, Chicago po­lice con­firmed. He doesn’t have an ini­tial court ap­pear­ance sched­uled yet and is be­ing held at the county jail in San Fran­cisco.

The vic­tim

Cor­nell-Du­ran­leau, a Michi­gan na­tive who re­ceived a cos­me­tol­ogy li­cense, moved to Chicago last year. He lived in a neigh­bor­hood just south­west of down­town. Fam­ily mem­bers is­sued a state­ment ask­ing for time to grieve be­fore com­ment­ing fur­ther, say­ing they’re “deeply sad­dened” by the loss. “It is our hope that the per­son or per­sons re­spon­si­ble for the death are brought to jus­tice,” the state­ment read. A fu­neral will be held Aug 12 in Len­non, Michi­gan.

On the run

The day the crime was com­mit­ted, po­lice say Lathem and War­ren drove about 80 miles (128 kilo­me­ters) north­west of Chicago to Lake Geneva, Wis­con­sin, where one made a $1,000 cash do­na­tion to the lo­cal li­brary in Cor­nell-Du­ran­leau’s name. Lake Geneva au­thor­i­ties said the man mak­ing the do­na­tion didn’t give his name. The two eluded po­lice for eight days be­fore their sep­a­rate sur­ren­ders Fri­day evening in the Bay Area. Lathem turned him­self in at the Oak­land fed­eral build­ing roughly the same time War­ren turned him­self in to po­lice in San Fran­cisco, au­thor­i­ties said. A US Mar­shals spokesman said surrender ne­go­ti­a­tions through an at­tor­ney be­gan late Fri­day af­ter­noon.

Look­ing ahead

Wear­ing a red in­mate uni­form, Lathem briefly ap­peared in court Mon­day. He’s be­ing held with­out bail in Alameda County. An at­tor­ney painted a dif­fer­ent pic­ture of him, call­ing him a “gen­tle soul” and say­ing he’s re­ceived dozens of calls and let­ters in sup­port. “They all de­scribe him in the same way - a kind, in­tel­li­gent, and gen­tle soul, and a loyal and trusted friend,” Ken­neth H. Wine, an at­tor­ney for Wyn­d­ham Lathem, said in a state­ment. “What he is ac­cused of is to­tally con­trary to the way he has lived his en­tire life.” Lathem plans to waive his right to an ex­tra­di­tion hear­ing and ex­pects to be re­turned to Chicago within weeks, ac­cord­ing to an at­tor­ney. — AP

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