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British Man Gets 45-Year Prison Sentence In Murder Of Microbiologist’s Boyfriend
Andrew Warren, a British citizen, pleaded guilty to participating in the brutal 2017 murder of Trenton Cornell-Duranleau, the boyfriend of a Chicago-area professor he'd met and flirted with online.
A British man accused of participating in the 2017 apparent thrill-killing of a microbiologist's boyfriend was sentenced to more than four decades in prison this week.
Andrew Warren, 61, was handed a 45-year sentence on Wednesday for assisting ex-Northwestern University professor Wyndham Lathem, 47, in the gruesome killing of Lathem's boyfriend, Trenton Cornell-Duranleau, 26, four years ago, according to the Cook County State Attorney's Office.
Cornell, who was stabbed dozens of times and nearly decapitated in the summer 2017 attack, was found dead in Lathem’s apartment.
Prosecutors said Lathem and Warren, who met and flirted online before Lathem paid Warren's airfare to Chicago, initially plotted an elaborate suicide pact, but ultimately settled on killing Cornell instead to fulfill a shared murder fantasy. They had planned but failed to record the killing as well, according to a plea agreement obtained by Oxygen.com.
Lathem and Cornell were arrested in California following a national eight-day manhunt.
Warren, who had pleaded guilty in 2019, had previously admitted to striking Cornell’s head with a lamp and stabbing him twice. He publicly apologized to Cornell’s family during his sentencing hearing this week.
“I just want to say that I’m really so sorry,” Warren told the victim’s family. “That’s all I can say.”
Lathem, 47, was convicted in first-degree murder in Trenton Cornell-Duranleau’s death in October and sentenced to 53 years in prison in January. During his trial, prosecutors characterized Lathem as the plot’s mastermind, despite his attempts to pin the killing entirely on Warren.
Lathem invited his then-boyfriend over to his high-rise apartment on July 26, 2017, officials said, and then, with Warren, stabbed him to death as he slept.
"Warren walked into the bedroom and placed his hands over the victim’s mouth to stop him from screaming,” charging documents stated. “The victim bit defendant Warren’s hand and flailed his arms in the struggle," the court document said. "To silence the victim and stop him from moving, defendant Warren struck the victim in the head with a heavy metal lamp.”
Police had described Cornell-Duranleau’s murder as “savage and grisly,” according to ABC News.
Warren testified that in their initial, scrapped suicide plot, Lathem "was going to cut me open ... and fatally wound me," according to WLS-TV. The 61-year-old said he was supposed to then shoot Lathem.
Cornell-Duranleau’s family were relieved that court proceedings had drawn to a close after several years.
“It doesn’t bring Trenton back, but there’s a level of peace now that we’re done,” his mother, Mischelle Duranleau said.
“We’re grateful that he had the moral sense to tell the truth eventually,” Duranleau added. "He could have stopped it. So there is this really big mixed feeling between absolute anger and appreciation.”
It’s possible Warren could be extradited to the United Kingdom to serve his prison time; however, if he’s transferred overseas, mandatory time off for good behavior could significantly reduce the length of his sentence.
Cook County prosecutors previously cast doubt on the possibility that such a transfer will occur when Lathem's defense suggested it was a motive for his testimony. It would ultimately need to be approved by both British government officials and the U.S. Department of Justice, officials noted.
“There’s a chance [of] maybe going back to England,” Assistant State’s Attorney Yolanda Lippert said during Lathem’s trial last year, according to the Chicago Tribune. “Do you think the Queen wants that guy back?”
The office has, however, agreed not to oppose the transfer if it goes through.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the case when contacted by Oxygen.com on Friday.