DUBLIN, Calif. (CBS SF & AP) — A Northwestern University professor accused in the stabbing death of a Chicago man fled to friends and family living in the Bay Area after the slaying, according to his attorney Monday.
Kenneth H. Wine, an attorney for Wyndham Lathem, said the fugitive — who was arrested in the Bay Area over the weekend — would not fight his extradition back Chicago to face the charges in the case.
He said the 42-year-old Northwestern microbiologist was doing well in Santa Rita jail and would be headed back to the Midwest in “a few weeks.”
When asked what brought Lathem — who was the subject of a manhunt in the Midwest — to California, Wine said he came to “see friends and family.”
“It’s where his closest friends and family are,” the attorney told reporters.
Lathem’s friends and colleagues have sent dozens of letters of support describing him as a ‘ ‘intelligent, kind, a gentle soul,’ Wine said.
“What he is accused of is totally contrary to the way he has lived his life,” the defense attorney said. “This today is the first step in a long process. At this time it is critical to remind everyone — the press and the public alike — that all criminal cases are tried in courtrooms and not the press.”
Lathem, a 42-year-old Northwestern microbiologist, and Andrew Warren, an Oxford University financial officer, surrendered to Bay Area authorities Friday night after more than a week on the run.
They face preliminary charges of first-degree murder in Illinois in the July 27 killing of 26-year-old Trenton James Cornell-Duranleau in Lathem’s Chicago apartment.
Lathem and Warren have not been formally charged.
Lathem, who surrendered in Oakland, is being held without bail in Alameda County.
Warren, a British national, surrendered in San Francisco and does not have an initial court date yet.
Authorities have not disclosed a possible motive for the killing.
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