Northwestern professor suspected in fatal stabbing fired from university
ABCNews.com(EVANSTON, Ill.) — A Northwestern University professor accused of fatally stabbing a man in Chicago has been fired from the university.
Wyndham Lathem, who was a faculty member at Northwestern’s microbiology-immunology department for 10 years, was terminated effective Aug. 4, Alan Cubbage, vice president for university relations, said in a statement Monday.
“Lathem was terminated for the act of fleeing from police when there was an arrest warrant out for him,” Cubbage said.
Lathem is banned from entering the Northwestern University campuses, the statement added.
Lathem and a second suspect, University of Oxford employee Andrew Warren, were both taken into custody without incident in Northern California Friday night after a nationwide manhunt.
Lathem and Warren spent more than one week on the run after allegedly killing 26-year-old Trenton Cornell-Duranleau, who was found stabbed to death at a Chicago apartment registered to Lathem on July 27.
Lathem made his first appearance in court in California this afternoon on charges of murder and fleeing from Illinois. He waived his arraignment and extradition, and was held without bail. He must leave California by Sept. 6.
One of Lathem’s attorneys, Kenneth Wine, said at a news conference Monday ahead of the court hearing, “What he is accused of is totally contrary to the way he has lived his entire life.”
Wine said, “The defense has received dozens of phone calls and letters in support of Dr. Lathem. These are from friends and colleagues who have known him for decades. And they all describe him as a kind, intelligent and gentle soul, and a loyal and trusted friend.”
Chicago police said last week that several federal agencies were brought in to investigate and a national alert was sent to police departments across the country advising that murder warrants were issued for both men.
According to police, while Lathem was on the run, he sent a video message to various friends and family members apologizing for his alleged involvement in the killing. Lathem described the killing as the biggest mistake of his life, according to Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.
Guglielmi also said the two suspects donated $1,000 in the victim’s name to the public library in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
Another one of Lathem’s attorneys, Adam Sheppard, said in a statement Sunday, “We have received an outpouring of support from colleagues, friends, and family members on Doctor Lathem’s behalf. His achievements in his professional field have been particularly noteworthy. Our firm will be fighting to procure his pretrial release which we believe is merited. He has led a law abiding life, voluntarily surrendered to authorities, and has roots in the Chicago community. We encourage the public to wait until all investigations are complete before jumping to any conclusions regarding criminal culpability.”
A spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department told ABC News that authorities believe Lathem “and the victim had a relationship.”
The Cornell-Duranleau family said in a statement Sunday, “Given the nature of how our son suffered and died, we are hopeful that the judge will deny bail for both suspects until this matter is settled in a court of law.”
“The Cornell-Duranleau family would like to thank all of the law enforcement agencies who were instrumental in bringing the suspects into custody. Their diligent efforts, have given our family some comfort as we mourn this tragedy,” the family added. “While we continue to grieve and struggle to make sense of Trenton’s death, we ask for privacy so we can lay our son to rest.”
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