DUBLIN, Calif. (CN) – A Northwestern University professor will be returned to Chicago to face charges that he and an accomplice fatally stabbed a Chicago man late last month then drove across the country before surrendering in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Appearing calm in a red jumpsuit, Wyndham Lathem, 42, agreed not to challenge extradition to Illinois during a brief hearing Monday before Alameda County Superior Court Judge Stuart Hing. Latham was charged with first-degree murder but not formally arraigned.
He intends to plead not guilty and request bail once he is moved back to his home state within two weeks, according to Kenneth Wine, Lathem’s attorney in Alameda County.
Lathem, an associate professor of microbiology at Northwestern, surrendered at the federal courthouse in Oakland, California, last Friday. Andrew Warren, 56, a bursar at Oxford University in the United Kingdom, surrendered at a police station in nearby San Francisco the same day.
Authorities launched a manhunt after Chicago police found Trenton Cornell-Duranleau brutally stabbed to death inside Lathem’s Near North Side condominium on the evening of July 27, according to a community alert issued by police last Wednesday. Officers had responded to the condo after receiving a call requesting a well-being check.
An autopsy showed the 26-year-old hairstylist died of multiple stab wounds.
The Chicago Tribune reported that police found a knife with a broken blade in a trash can in Lathem’s high-rise condo, and another by the sink. Blood was spattered around the unit.
Lathem and Cornell-Duranleau reportedly had a personal relationship, but it is unknown how they knew Warren, who flew to the United States two days before Cornell-Duranleau died. No motive for the murder was given.
Wine said Monday that his client drove to the Bay Area because that is where his close family and friends live.
Before heading West, Lathem and Warren reportedly drove 80 miles to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where Lathem donated $1,000 in Cornell-Duranleau’s name to the city’s public library.
Prior to his arrest, Lathem sent a video message to his friends and family apologizing for his involvement in the slaying, according to a tweet by Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. He reportedly called it “the biggest mistake of my life.”
“Both men will be held accountable for their actions and we hope today’s arrest brings some small level of closure and justice for Trenton Cornell-Duranleau’s family,” Chicago police tweeted Friday. “We are also thankful both men are safely in custody and this did not end in further tragedy.”
Nonetheless, Wine cautioned the public Monday to refrain from making conclusions about Lathem’s involvement in the murder.
“I urge you to be patient, suspend your judgments, and let the facts come out in the courtroom as the Constitution intends,” Wine said in a statement. “Since the beginning of this case, the defense has received dozens of calls and letters in support of Dr. Lathem, from friends and colleagues who have known him for decades,” he continued. “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.”
Warren, who is also facing first-degree murder charges, is expected to appear for an extradition hearing in San Francisco County Superior Court on Friday. He is not expected to challenge extradition.
Wine is with Hallinan & Wine in San Francisco.