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Week in review: Northwestern murder mystery, soda tax confusion and closure for Steve Bartman

Week in review: Northwestern murder mystery, soda tax confusion and closure for Steve Bartman
Trenton Cornell-Duranleau, 26, left, was found dead July 27, 2017, in a high-rise apartment belonging to Wyndham Lathem, center, a Northwestern University professor. Lathem and Andrew Warren, an employee at Oxford University, face charges of first-degree murder. (Family and police photos)

Here are some of the top stories of the week from Chicago and beyond (Sunday, July 31 through Friday, Aug. 4).

Northwestern professor accused in man's stabbing death

Wyndham Lathem, an associate professor at Northwestern University, and Andrew Warren, a University of Oxford employee, were taken into custody on Friday in connection with the stabbing death of a man in a Near North Side high-rise apartment, report Rosemary Regina Sobol and Jeremy Gorner.

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Arrest warrants were issued charging both men with first-degree murder in last week's death of Trenton Cornell-Duranleau, 26.

Lathem is an associate professor at Northwestern's Department of Microbiology-Immunology at the Feinberg School of Medicine. Warren is a senior treasury assistant at Somerville College, part of the Oxford University network.

Police were called after an anonymous tip to the building's engineer, and responding officers found the victim in a bedroom, dead from stab wounds to his back, and a knife with a broken blade in the kitchen trash can, sources said.

The gruesome attack set off a nationwide search.

Police think Lathem and Cornell-Duranleau had some sort of relationship and "some type of falling-out." They could not say how Warren, who flew to Chicago on July 24, knew the two men.

Police on Friday said Lathem sent a "video message" apologizing to friends and family for "his involvement" in the murder, report Elyssa Cherney, Jeremy Gorner and Rosemary Sobol.

Mayor Emanuel talks at Chicago Athletic Association about Gov. Rauner's rewriting of education bill. Aug. 2, 2017. (John Byrne / Chicago Tribune)
Rauner vetoes school funding bill, taking aim at CPS

Gov. Bruce Rauner, a longtime critic of Chicago Public Schools, vetoed a school funding bill on Tuesday, taking aim at hundreds of millions of dollars for the district, report Monique Garcia, Rick Pearson and Hal Dardick.

Rauner rewrote the bill to take out more than $200 million in grant money and penalize CPS for declining enrollment.

Rauner argued that the bill would unfairly benefit CPS and take millions of dollars away from other school districts in the state.

Democrats in the state Senate have two weeks to decide whether to override the governor's amendatory veto. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Republican legislators will feel pressure from constituents to override Rauner, report John Byrne, Garcia and Pearson.

In other Chicago-area news:

New U.S. attorney for Chicago: President Donald Trump announced he will nominate John Lausch as the city's next U.S. attorney, succeeding Zachary Fardon, reports Katherine Skiba.

Schock seeks to have indictment dropped: Lawyers for former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock asked a judge on Tuesday to toss the felony indictment against him, arguing that prosecutors had an "apparent obsession" with his sexuality and made false and misleading statements to witnesses, reports Skiba.

Executive, escort accused of fraud: The FBI says a financial executive at a suburban drug device company gave a professional escort access to his company credit card and the pair racked up charges of nearly $5.8 million, reports Gregory Pratt.

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Police shooting case reopened: The Independent Police Review Authority is re-examining the death of 19-year-old Roshad McIntosh, who was shot by police in 2014, sparking heated protests in Chicago, reports Dan Hinkel.

John Kelly, who was sworn in July 31 as White House chief of staff, told Scaramucci that morning that he would be replaced. (July 31, 2017)
Scaramucci, who threatened to fire everyone, is fired after 11 days

Former Gen. John Kelly, named chief of staff after the ousting of Reince Preibus, made his presence known on his first day of work on Monday, firing Anthony Scaramucci, President Donald Trump's foulmouthed communications director, who had been on the job less than two weeks.

Scaramucci, who slammed White House staffers in an expletive-laden interview with The New Yorker last week and threatened to fire everyone if the leaking didn't stop, was escorted from White House grounds after a statement was released saying he was leaving to give Kelly "a clean slate" to build his own team.

Though the Mooch was only on the job 11 days, they were certainly memorable and action-packed.

In other nation and world news:

New FBI director confirmed: The Senate overwhelmingly voted to confirm Christopher Wray on Tuesday to fill the post that has remained vacant since President Donald Trump fired James Comey in May.

A father's help: The White House said Trump "weighed in" on Donald Trump Jr.'s initial statement about a meeting with a Russian lawyer, saying the president helped "as any father would."

Trump signs Russia sanctions bill: Trump grudgingly signed what he called a "seriously flawed" package of sanctions against Russia on Wednesday, drawing criticism from Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who said it "demonstrated total impotence" by Trump in surrendering authority to Congress.

Scouts' honor: Trump told The Wall Street Journal that the head of the Boy Scouts called to praise his partisan speech at the Scouts' national jamboree, but the Scouts on Wednesday said "we are unaware of any such call."

Human embryo editing: Scientists managed to edit the DNA of a human embryo to erase a heart condition that causes sudden death in young athletes.

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Seeking closure, Cubs give Steve Bartman a World Series ring

The Cubs made peace with Steve Bartman, the Cubs fan who reached for a foul ball just before the team's 2003 playoff collapse, by giving him a 2016 World Series ring, reports Mark Gonzales.

Bartman, who was singled out and verbally abused by fans for the team's failure to hold a late lead with five outs to go in the National League Championship Series against the Marlins after accidentally interfering with left fielder Moises Alou, has remained out of the public eye ever since, but not out of the minds of Cubs fans who blamed him for extending their World Series drought.

"I am relieved and hopeful that the saga of the 2003 foul ball incident surrounding my family and me is finally over," said Bartman, who thanked the Cubs for welcoming him "back into the Cubs family."

The Cubs said they hoped the gesture brings closure to the incident.

But closure won't come until we see and hear from Bartman himself, writes David Haugh, who suggests Bartman give a public interview and be done with it. Eric Zorn agrees, writing that Bartman's silence has prolonged his suffering.

Bartman earned the ring for keeping his integrity and not trying to cash in on the infamous moment, writes Paul Sullivan. The move felt like a stunt from the Cubs, which put Bartman back in the headlines he's spent years avoiding, writes the Tribune's editorial board.

In other sports news:

Coaching legend dies: Ara Parseghian, a Hall of Fame college football coach at Notre Dame and Northwestern, died on Wednesday at his home in Granger, Ind., at 94, report Paul Skrbina and Teddy Greenstein. The legendary coach proved you can dominate college football with dignity, writes David Haugh.

Cubs add at trade deadline: The Cubs added left-handed reliever Justin Wilson and catcher Alex Avila from the Tigers on Sunday, putting them in good shape for the postseason and in the future, reports Mark Gonzales.

Macho nacho man: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, cheese-covered nachos in hand, got in the face of a heckling Cubs fan in Milwaukee on Sunday. "You're a big shot," Christie could be heard saying at the end of their exchange. Christie told CNN's Jake Tapper on Monday that he confronted the fan because he said "some really lousy, awful stuff." The fan, Brad Joseph, apologized on Facebook for telling Christie he "sucked," but said he would have accepted Christie's offer to fight if the governor wasn't backed by a security detail, Kim Janssen reports. Christie on Wednesday said he still plans to attend baseball games. "I didn't dump the nachos on him or anything, which was an option."

Reporter Ben Hutchison was in the stands in Milwaukee as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got in a Cubs fan's face after being heckled. (CBS Chicago)
Cook County’s long-delayed tax on sweetened beverages took effect Wednesday amid confusion, leaving retailers grumbling and shoppers plotting soda runs to neighboring counties. (Grace Wong / Chicago Tribune)
Shoppers confused, disgusted as Cook County soda tax takes effect

Customers expressed confusion and voiced their displeasure to cashiers on Wednesday as Cook County's penny-per-ounce sweetened beverage tax took effect, report Ally Marotti, Grace Wong and Greg Trotter.

Sarah McBride, of Cicero, said she will buy soda when she visits her sister in Gurnee, so she can avoid the tax.

"I have a teenager, I mean, c'mon. I buy cases ... at least twice a week. I'm going and getting a lot of pop."

Some customers at a Sunset Foods location took drinks out of their carts and mistakenly thought it was an extra charge set by the store, rather than a county tax.

The tax went into effect despite a last-minute appeal by the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, whose lawsuit to block the tax was dismissed last week, writes Becky Yerak.

The so-called soda tax applies to much more than pop. Any nonalcoholic beverage that's sweetened, with sugar or artificial sweeteners, will be taxed. Still confused? Check out this handy guide from Greg Trotter. Think you have got it down? Then take this quiz by Trotter and Jonathon Berlin.

In other business news:

Pharma Bro guilty: Martin Shkreli, the former drug CEO known for price-gouging and a brash persona, was convicted on federal charges he deceived investors in a pair of failed hedge funds.

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Amazon hiring: Hundreds of job-seekers flocked to a recruiting event in Romeoville as the company invited applicants to apply at 10 distribution centers nationwide for 50,000 open jobs, reports Lauren Zumbach.

Airbnb rules unenforced: Chicago is not enforcing some penalties outlined in its short-term rental ordinance and Airbnb hosts say they haven't received registration numbers from the city, reports Ally Marotti.

Illinois Obamacare sticker shock: Insurers want to hike premiums for Illinois residents on the Obamacare exchange from 5 percent to 43 percent next year, citing uncertainty about the health care law, reports Lisa Schencker.

South Works site plan: Two European firms are planning to build as many as 20,000 homes on a 440-acre site on Chicago's lakefront that has been dormant since a U.S. steel plant there closed 25 years ago, reports Ryan Ori.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Oscar-nominated actor and celebrated author whose plays chronicled the explosive fault lines of family and masculinity in the American West, has died. (July 31, 2017)
Pulitzer-winning playwright Sam Shepard dies

Sam Shepard, the author of the Illinois-set, Pulitzer Prize-winning "Buried Child" and other seminal dramatic works, who was also an Oscar-nominated actor from "The Right Stuff," died of complications from Lou Gehrig's disease, writes Chris Jones.

Shepard was born in Fort Sheridan, and his work often returned to the Midwest. In 2010, he won the Chicago Tribune Literary Prize.

His death was mourned by Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company, whose initial rise to fame was linked to Shepard and his work, Jones wrote.

Shepard's work on screen displayed his hardscrabble, compelling charisma in such films as "Days of Heaven" and the more recent "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," writes Michael Phillips.

In other entertainment, lifestyles and dining news:

A beacon of hope in Wrigleyville: Fans of Taco Bell, a mecca for late-night junk food near Wrigley Field that is being torn down to make way for a retail development, are organizing a protest to save the restaurant. One organizer said the Taco Bell is a beacon of hope and a promise of security to Wrigley Field-goers, reports Shelbie Lynn Bostedt.

Legendary nightclub for sale: FitzGerald's Nightclub, a fixture in Berwyn and on the American roots music scene for nearly 40 years, is for sale and its owner, Bill FitzGerald, is retiring, reports Steve Johnson.

Lakeview favorite closes: The Melrose Restaurant, a longtime diner in the Lakeview neighborhood, has apparently closed. There was paper on the glass windows and a sign reading "closed" on the eatery's glass windows. Here's hoping it's temporary, writes Phil Vettel.

Sneak peek at Great Wolf: Great Wolf Resorts showed its first look at the $60 million water park lodge opening next year near Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, reports Lori Racki.

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