Every great criminal dreams of committing the perfect crime. Two men in the 1920 s were no different. Nathan Loeb, 19, and his partner Richard Loeb, 18, were born into very wealthy families, and had a bright future ahead of them. Loeb was obsessed with crime. He wanted to commit the perfect crime, just to prove that it could be done. Many people think that Leopold agreed to be Loeb's partner in crime, because he was in love with Loeb.
Both men thought that murder was an essential part of committing the perfect crime. They also planned to kidnap their victim to minimize the likelihood of getting caught. On May 21, 1924, at about 5 PM, 14 year old Bobby Franks was walking home from school. Leopold and Loeb were driving around the nieghborhood in search of their victim. Bobby Franks was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Loeb recognized him, because he often played tennis on the Loeb mansion. They asked Bobby Franks to get in the car to discuss a tennis racket. As soon as he gets in, Leopold and Loeb drive away, and Franks is hit on the head with a chisel and a cloth is forced down his throat, which led to his suffocation. With Franks now dead, Leopold and Loeb took his body to marshlands around Wolf Lake. They decide to pour hydrochloric acid over his body to make it harder to identify, if found.
They place the body in a culvert, and drive back home. Leopold and Loeb called Jacob Franks, the father of Bobby Franks, identifying themselves and Gorge Johnson. They mailed a ransom letter to their house stating to secure $10, 000 dollars in old unmarked bills, and to wait for further instructions. They called him again at 3 PM. A Taxi would arrive for Jacob Franks, to go to a specific drugstore in South Chicago.
Just as he is about to leave, there was a call from the police. Bobby's body has been identified. Leopold and Loeb's dream has been destroyed. Leopold's horn rimmed glasses were what led to the arrest of Leopold and Loeb.
As they were placing the body in the culvert, Leopold dropped his glasses near it. He thought they would never trace it back to him, because it was a common prescription. Besides, he had a good alibi. He often went bird watching there, and he could have dropped his glasses on one of his trips. The hinge on his glasses were one of a kind, and that is how they traced it back to him. Leopold insisted that his glasses fell out of his pocket when he tripped while running to take a picture of a bird.
The police asked him to demonstrate this, and he purposely tripped many times, but the glasses never fell out of his pocket. Leopold and Loeb were found guilty, and they confessed. When they went to trial, Clarence Darrow was their defender. It was because of his 12 hour plea that the boys werent hung. His speech brought tears to people's eyes. Leopold and Loeb were sentenced to jail for the rest of their natural lives for murder, and 99 years for kidnapping for ransom.
They were brought to the Joliet Penitentiary. In 1936, Loeb was slashed and killed with a razor during a showroom fight. Leopold managed to keep active in prison. Some of the things he did was to master 27 different foreign languages, teach the prison school, and volunteer to be tested with an experimental malaria vaccine. He was released in 1958 after being in prison in 34 years.
He moved to Puerto Rico to avoid the public, and he earned his masters degree, taught math, and worked in hospitals and church missions. Despite saying that he was still in love in Loeb, he got married. Richard Leopold died on August 30, 1971.