Saturday, May 21, 2011


On this date in 1924, two spoiled sociopaths committed what they thought would be the perfect crime; all to prove their status as Nietzschean supermen. Nathan Leopold, 19, and Richard Loeb, 18, kidnapped and murdered 14 year old Bobby Franks. They might have gotten away with it, had their perfect crime been just a little more... perfect. But perfection is hard to achieve, especially when you do things like:

-Hide the body where it will be quickly found

-Drop your (very unique) glasses at the body dump location

-Build your alibi around going for a drive in a car that could be shown to be in the shop

It didn't take long for the alibi to break down and for both men to confess. So much for supermen, Nietzschean or otherwise.

Famed trial attorney Clarence Darrow was brought in to defend the indefensible. He couldn't get his clients acquitted, but he did manage to head off a death sentence. Both men were sentenced to life in prison.

Loeb died in prison in 1936, the victim of a razor attack by another inmate. Leopold was paroled in 1958. He moved to Puerto Rico, where worked in a hospital. He died in 1971, at the age of 66.

Further reading:

truTV - Leopold & Loeb

Famous Trials - Illinois v. Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb


LC Aggie Sith said...

I had never heard of this...went to the link, and got sucked in all day yesterday, and forgot to comment!!!

Bob G. said...

John D.:
That's some amazing stuff, and nicely handled by the law for the times.
Very good post.

Stay safe.

John D said...

It was quite the news event back in the day. It would later inspire the movie Rope, which was directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

The detectives did a great job at following the leads. Good old-fashioned legwork carried the day. As always.