A Cook County judge has sentenced a former Northwestern University professor and renowned microbiologist to 53 years in prison for the 2017 stabbing death of his boyfriend. The victim was stabbed more than 70 times as part of the suspect’s sexual fantasy with another man, authorities said.

Judge Charles Burns said during the Tuesday sentencing that 47-year-old Wyndham Lathem of River North in Chicago, Illinois, committed the “cold-blooded” killing of Trenton Cornell-Duranleau, 26, whom he was in a relationship with, Associated Press reported.

Lathem said during his trial that it was Andrew Warren, a British man, who stabbed Cornell-Duranleau during a sexual encounter between the three men that was triggered by methamphetamine, a stimulant most commonly used as a recreational drug.

However, prosecutors said Lathem met Warren online and he paid the latter to commit the murder of Cornell-Duranleau together, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Cornell-Duranleau was stabbed more than 70 times on July 27, 2017, after which Lathem fled with Warren to California before they surrendered.

Warren, a financial officer at Oxford University at the time of the incident, said during an October trial that the initial plan was for him and Lathem to kill each other as part of a suicide oath between the two. He said that Lathem “was going to cut me open … and fatally wound me” and then he was supposed to shoot Lathem.

However, Warren said Lathem later suggested that they kill Cornell-Duranleau first. He added that Lathem repeatedly stabbed Cornell-Duranleau while the latter was sleeping, then he himself stabbed the victim several times.

During the October trial that found him guilty of third-degree murder, Lathem said it was Warren who stabbed Cornell-Duranleau while he “hid in the bathroom like a coward,” WBBM-TV reported.

In a video turned over to the authorities by his parents, Lathem said Cornell-Duranleau “trusted” him “completely and felt safe” with him. “I took that all away when I killed him,” he said in the video, the outlet reported.

Lathem and Warren were on the run for eight days following Cornell-Duranleau’s killing before they turned themselves in, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Northwestern University then fired Lathem, who was known for his studies of the bubonic plague, after he fled town. Assistant State Attorney Yolanda Lippert said during Lathem’s trial that the suspect’s actions when he left the area with Warren were “the actions of a murderer.”

Representation. A knife. Pixabay