Northwestern professor, Oxford staffer accused in fatal stabbing surrender in California
CHICAGO (AP) — A Northwestern University professor and a University of Oxford staffer accused of stabbing a man to death in Chicago surrendered peacefully to authorities in California, eight days after the brutal attack.
Wyndham Lathem, 42, surrendered Friday night at the Oakland federal building at around the same time that Andrew Warren, 56, was turning himself in to police in San Francisco, according to Michael McCloud, a fugitive taskforce commander with the U.S. Marshals Service. He said his agency learned Wednesday that the two were in the Bay Area and they received further information at around noon on Friday that they were still around.
Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Frank Conroy said Saturday that fast-paced surrender negotiations through an attorney began late Friday afternoon and that by evening, Wyndham Lathem arrived by car at the courthouse.
There were no guns drawn, but Lathem was ordered to carefully step out of the car and he was taken into custody in a public courtyard area between the federal complex’s two buildings, Conroy said.
Lathem stated that he would not answer any questions on advice of a lawyer, and no questions were asked, Conroy said.
“He wasn’t in good spirits, but physically he didn’t appear to have anything wrong,” Conroy said.
Conroy did not provide details of the negotiations and he withheld the identity of the lawyer pending a scheduled court appearance Monday morning in Alameda County Superior Court.
Investigators had also spoken with friends of Lathem earlier in the week, Conroy said.
“They knew the seriousness of the charges, the seriousness of the case and how important it was that he be brought into custody, not have to live a life on the run,” Conroy said.
“He knew that,” Conroy said of Lathem.
The deputy marshal said Lathem had never been arrested before and that people in that situation usually panic and make decisions they normally wouldn’t make.
“For him to come in in a safe way, an organized way, was the best outcome that we could have hoped for,” Conroy said.
Lathem and Warren probably took two or three days to travel from Chicago to California, with the manhunt not far behind.
“He (Lathem) probably realized it’s never going to end until he’s in custody, so let me do it on my on terms.” Conroy said.
Conroy was not involved in Warren’s surrender and did not know how it came about.
Lathem, an associate microbiology professor at Northwestern, was booked into the Alameda County jail. Warren, a Somerville College resident at Oxford University in England, was taken to the San Francisco County Jail. They will appear separately in court before being extradited to Illinois, where they face charges of first-degree murder in the killing of 26-year-old Trenton James Cornell-Duranleau. It was not immediately clear when that would happen.
Cornell-Duranleau’s mother, Charlotte Cornell, didn’t immediately reply to an email requesting comment on the arrests.
The manhunt began shortly after Cornell-Duranleau was found dead in Lathem’s Chicago apartment on the night of July 27. He had been stabbed several times in an attack so brutal that police said the knife broke.
Police said Lathem had 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.
Warren arrived in the United States three days before Cornell-Duranleau’s death and was seen in surveillance video leaving the building with Lathem the day of the stabbing.
Authorities haven’t disclosed a possible motive for the killing.
Police said Lathem had a personal relationship with Cornell-Duranleau, who moved to Chicago from the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area after receiving his cosmetology license. They are not sure how Cornell-Duranleau or Lathem knew Warren, or if Warren knew them before he arrived in the United States.
In a bizarre twist, police said that on the day of the slaying, but before the body had been discovered, Lathem and Warren drove about 80 miles (128 kilometers) northwest to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where one of them made a $1,000 cash donation to the public library there in Cornell-Duranleau’s name. Lake Geneva police said the man making the donation did not give his name.
“I’ve never seen where suspects in a homicide would make a donation in the victim’s name,” said Lake Geneva police Lt. Edward Gritzner.
On the night of the slaying, police said the front desk of the high-rise building where Lathem lived in Chicago’s trendy River North neighborhood received an anonymous call from a person who said that a crime had been committed in Lathem’s 10th floor apartment. When police opened the door they found Cornell-Duranleau’s body. He had been dead for 12-15 hours.