Young Nathan Leopold, 19, and Albert Loeb, 18, with super hero fantasy thought they could commit the perfect crime with no consequences. While living in Chicago, the two friends spent many months planning their crime.
The plan into action on May 21, 1924, when a 14-year-old neighbor, Bobby Franks, was enticed to join them for a ride in a rented car. During the drive Franks was hit on the head and a sock shoved into his mouth. He died quickly.
Even though the victim was dead, the two offenders continued with their plan. A call was made to Franks’ parents, telling them about the kidnapping, followed by a ransom letter.
Leopold and Loeb attempted to clean the rented car and destroy their clothing. However, before their plan could play out, a bystander, Tony Minke, found the young boy’s body.
A pair of eye glasses were found at the crime scene. The glasses had a very unique hinge, and detective, Hugh Patrick Byrne, was able to trace them. Only three individuals in the city of Chicago had purchased glasses with those hinges. Nathan Leopold was one of the three.
Leopold told the police that he had spent the night with Loeb and the two had picked up a several women in Leopold’s car, but they did not know the women’s names. Their account of the night fell apart when the police learned that Leopold’s car was actually being repaired that evening.
After questioning, both boys confessed. Their stories mostly matched until it came to who killed the adolescent. Each blamed the other. It is still a mystery today as to who actually killed Franks. A witness told police he saw Loeb driving the car and Leopold in the back seat. This seems to point towards Leopold being the killer. Neither boy seemed to feel any remorse for their actions.
Nathan Freudenthal Leopold Jr. was born November 19, 1904. Richard Albert Loeb was born on June 11, 1905. Both young man attended the University of Chicago; both were extremely smart and came from good families with money. They had great plans for their futures.
Leopold was heading to Harvard Law School and Loeb planned to study at the University of Chicago Law School. The two met and became good friends. They started their criminal careers as thieves, escalated to more serious crimes, finally committing murder.
While awaiting trial, both claimed that they had murdered Franks with the intent to commit the perfect crime and were driven by the adrenaline rush of the killing. Neither boy seemed to feel any remorse for their actions. Because Leopold and Loeb together pled guilty, they were allowed to present their cases before a judge instead of a jury trial. Judge John R Caverly heard the case and decided both would receive life+99 years. The life sentence for murder and 99 years for kidnapping.
Inmate James Day killed Loeb in prison on January 28, 1936 by repeated stabbing with a razor. Loeb’s family had been supporting him in prison with large amounts of money. He could buy whatever he needed or wanted. The attack was attributed to jealousy over the money. After this, the warden at the time allowed only small amounts of money given to each prisoner. A Chaplin later said that Day had been known as a sexual predator and could have made advances on Loeb. Loeb’s refusal could have caused the assault.
After 33 years in prison Leopold was paroled in 1958. Due to the attention gained from the crime, the trial, and his book titled Life Plus 99 Years, Leopold left the country. He settled in Puerto Rico where he married and lived out his life, dying in 1971.