Nathan Leopold, Jr., is
the son of the millionaire president of the Fibre Can company, and
Richard Loeb, father is a vice-president of Sears, Roebuck & Co.
Loeb Poses In The Car Used To
Kidnap The Child
Clarence Darrow Was Their Lawyer
They Thought They Would Get Off
18-year-old Loeb and 19-year-old Leopold
The rarified world these two lived in
Country Clubs, Chauffeurs and special schools
South Shore country club
Rosenwald who owned Sears was their neighbor
stars entertained at their homes
Life of privilege
This was the wealthiest area of Chicago. Leopold and Loeb had yearly
allowances of the 2004 equivalent of $ 25,000 They were raised by
governess, chauffeurs, butlers, etc. They went to Harvard preparatory.
Their weekends and summers were spent at the South Shore CC where they
lorded over Chicago's working class
Loeb's Country Estate
1600 acres in Michigan. Leopold was referred to as the 'Prince'
Chicago's Jewish elite
even had special schools
Leidel grammar school
Lab school - University
Jewish families in Chicago swarmed to
special schools and soon controlled them
These two had just graduated at the age of 18 and 19. On May 21, 1924,Nathan Leopold met his friend Richard Loeb after their post graduate
classes at the University of Chicago. Nathan was studying law. Richard was
The crime begins
The two drove in Nathan's Willis Knight, to a Rent a Car on South
Michigan St. where they rented a Green Willis Knight. They rented the car
under the name Morton D Ballard using an elaborate false identity (see
above link) they had earlier created. They then drove to a local
restaurant where they put side curtains up on the rented car and had lunch
with a friend, Dick Rubel ( thought to be involved but never charged )
After lunch they returned to Leopold's home. They dropped off Nathan's
car, after transferring their "gear" From Nathan's red car to the rented
car. These included a pair of rubber boots, some ether, hydrochloric acid,
rope, some gags, and a chisel.
The ether, Hydrochloric acid, Rope and guns
At this time, Nathan asked the Leopold family chauffeur,
Sven Englund, if he could do something about the squeaking brakes. Nathan
commented he'd rather hit someone than have squeaking brakes.
Jewish life in Chicago
Drive around preparing weapons
They ended up in Jackson park, where one of the boys-
seemingly Leopold after Loeb showed him how, taped the metal end of
the chisel- to use as a grip. Their weapon would be the wooden handle
of the chisel, their blunt object. Loeb referred to this weapon as his
"Toy." The boys were also armed. Leopold
had a 38 and Loeb a 45.
During the 45 min wait, until the local schools let
out, Loeb preformed oral sex on Leopold.
Wait outside a school
They had a victim in mind; Johnny Levinson.
The victim fit their profile of young ( he must be small so they could
easily overtake him ) and have wealthy parents. He must be someone they
knew, so he would come willingly into the car and not make a scene. They
caught sight of Levinson and began trailing him. However, they later lost
Levinson was first choice
The two had picked Levinson because he had a full athletic build, and
Leopold thought he would be 'Well endowed'. After an hour Levinson had not
reappeared, so they chose a Bobby Franks.
Richard Loeb knew Bobby.
Richard Loeb called to Bobby, "Bobby, you want a ride
Bobby said he'd just as soon walk. His house was not far. "Wait. I want
to ask you about that tennis racket you were using last week. I was
thinking of getting one for Tommy." Bobby got in the car, beside the
driver, in the front seat.
As he got in, Richard introduced Bobby to Nathan. "You know Babe? This
is Bobby Franks. Do you mind if we drive around the corner?"
Bobby said he didn't mind.
The car rounded the corner
and Bobby was hit
over the head with the chisel.
The plan had been to knock him unconscious - go to the dump and the
strangle him. The plan dictated each hold an end of the rope and they
both pull, to share equally in the guilt.
Leopold, grasped the captive with
a hand over his mouth and then swung the steel chisel on his head. The
To stifle the sound, according to official quotations from the
confessions, a hand was kept over his mouth until a rag could be stuffed
in and got blows on the head that caused death.
Leopold began to lose his
composure, mumbling, "This is terrible. This is terrible!" Richard Loeb
calmed him down by talking to him, joking and laughing.
Bobby was wrapped in a rug and shoved onto the back floor.
Already things were going
wrong. There was a great deal of blood.
Leopold and Loeb molest the
stripped the body from the waist down, and although the evidence
is inconclusive, one or both of them probably
performed a sexual act on the corpse
began to drive around, killing time until nightfall. They headed out
to Indiana towards a location they had already decided upon. At a
deserted spot they stopped the car, removed Bobby's shirt and
shoes, belt and class pin.
Burying the body
Once it was dark enough, they went to a culvert at Wolf Lake, where
Leopold had often gone birding. The culvert was a drainpipe under the
railroad tracks that connected two lakes.
Defaced The Corpse
Leopold had never noticed it when birding and thought nobody
else would notice it either. They completed removing the body's
clothing, dragged it in the robe to the culvert, then poured
the acid on the face, the genitals and an identifying scar.
. They poured acid on the
genitals because Richard was under the impression that a
person could be identified by his genitals, believing
his brother Tommy had a peculiarly shaped penis.
Police Find Body
The smell of the acid and the water caused some discomfort, and
Leopold did not push the body into the pipe far enough, and one of the
boy's feet protruded.
They stopped at a lunch stand called the Dew Drop Inn and Leopold
ordered them Hotdogs and Rootbeers. They sat eating.
Two Jewesses were to provide an alibi
With the body hidden, they then stopped at a drugstore where Nathan
phoned a friend (Susan Lurrie) canceling a date. This is interesting.
Leopold had a date with Susan for May 21st, and thus, one could argue,
Lurrie gets dragged into Leopold and Loeb's alibi just as does Dick
Leopold and Loeb's favorite topics of discussion was "What if our
friends knew what we really were". Perhaps there was an added thrill
in circumstantially involving these people.
The Two Girls Were To Lie
These two would verify they had dinner at the Coconut restaurant
The two girls planned to say they were with Leopold and Loeb at the
time of the murder.
Bobby Frank's father
They then called the Franks from another phone at another drugstore.
Leopold told Mrs Franks he was George Johnson, they had kidnapped her son,
he was safe, and further instructions would follow tomorrow
They then drove back to Leopold's home. They parked the bloodied rented
car on the street and Nathan retrieved his own car from the garage. He
drove his aunt and uncle home while Richard stayed, talking to Nathan's
father. Ten minutes later, Nathan returned. They had a few drinks with Mr.
Leopold until he went to bed- at 11:30 PM. Nathan and Richard remained for
a while, drank some more, and played two games of Casino ("for fun"). at
12:30 or 1 they drove to the Loeb house and burnt the boy's clothing in
The chisel was disposed of, by being tossed out
the window of the car, an action that was witnessed by a night watchman,
who retrieved the weapon, covered with blood, from the gutter to give to
May 22, 1924Ransom note
The ransom collection plan was as follows. Place a note in the trash
can on a certain street corner. Place a note in the telegraph blank box
aboard a certain train. . He is to count quickly to five, then throw the
box with the ransom as far as he can. The boys would be sitting in an
alley in the rented car, and watch the box be thrown from the train, then
watch the train speed away. Should Franks have notified the police, should
the police have even boarded the train with Franks, they would all be
carried away, and not know where the kidnapers were. Should the train stop
or slow, well, then they only had not to move to pick up the ransom. It
seemed a foolproof plan. They couldn't get caught.
Body is found before ransom is paid
Mr Franks had indeed alerted the police, and he
forgot the address to where he was to take the cab. Leopold did not tell
the cab company where he (he was posing as Mr Franks when he ordered the
cab) wanted to go, so the cabbie arrived at the Franks, and nobody knew
where to go. And then, an unidentified body had been discovered in a swamp
in Indiana . The jig, so to speak, was up.
The boys phoned the drugstore several times. Mr
Franks never arrived. They grabbed a paper from the newsstand and read
about the discovery of the body. Loeb wanted to quit, to return the car
and lay low, sure that the game was over.
Loeb argued against it. It was too risky. But
Leopold insisted. They phoned the drugstore again, and again, there was no
Mr Franks in the store. And then, then the game was truly over.
At the drugstore, they ran into one of the
instructors from the Harvard school, Mott Kirt Mitchell, who would become
a suspect. They discussed the tragedy. Leopold then drove Loeb home.
The boys get caught
But Leopold and Loeb were not "supermen"; they had made
a couple of key mistakes. First, the body, which was poorly hidden, was
discovered the next day. This prompted an immediate search for the
killers, which Loeb himself joined.
The typewriter used to type the ransom note was
recovered from a lake and, more important, a pair of glasses was found
near Franks' body. When the glasses were traced to the manufacturer,
police learned that only three of its kind had ever been produced.
The chisel was found.
Leopold glasses found near body
Two were immediately accounted for and the third
belonged to Nathan Leopold, who calmly told detectives that he must have
dropped them while bird hunting earlier in the week. This explanation
might have proved sufficient, but reporters covering the case soon
discovered other letters from Leopold that matched the ransom note.
Chisel was also found
The typewriter was found in a nearby pond
When confronted with this evidence, Leopold and Loeb
This was one crime that the press could not be accused of
sensationalizing. The public found the straight facts to be almost
beyond comprehension, and the defendants' subsequent courtroom
behavior, cocky and jovial, further demonized them.
Jews interfere with investigation
Howard Mayer went to the Loeb mansion and learned from a police
officer that Loeb and his friend Leopold were telling conflicting stories.
Mayer went to Crowe's office and was granted permission to talk with
Leopold. He relayed Leopold's message. "Babe said to tell the truth about
the two girls," Mayer told him because "you can't get in any worse trouble
than you are now."
The special handling these killers received irritated ordinary
The Jewish community thought it was unimaginable that such a crime
could have been committed by the brilliant, cultured, pampered
children of the Jewish social elite.
Leopold's and Loeb's class privilege also enflamed the situation.
While awaiting the disposition of their case in the Cook County Jail,
they received catered meals from a restaurant, and although
Prohibition was in force, liquor was sneaked into their jail cells.
Darrow wanted trial by judge
After Leopold's father got down on his knees and begged
Clarence Darrow to defend his son, the esteemed attorney agreed, and the
trial soon became a national sensation. Darrow, who didn't argue the boys'
innocence, directed one of his most famous orations against the death
penalty itself. The judge ,who was under immense Jewish influence ,
imposed life sentences.
Apparently unsatisfied with the attorney's work,
Leopold's father later reneged on his contract to pay Darrow.
Loeb's psychiatrist confirms other
Jews were suspected in at least four other
murders - Loeb confessed to a psychiatrist ( Hubert Boman ) that they had
killed at least four
others. The victims were Wolf, Tracy, Ream, and Vicki O'Hare aka the 'Handless
During Clarence Darrow's argument to the Judge - Leopold and Loeb
acted like giddy school boys.
During his graphic description of a hanging - Leopold urinated in
his pants and Loeb was so shook they took him out of the courtroom.
Darrow uses psychiatrists
The defense hoped to build its case against death around the testimony
of three psychiatrists, including Sigmund Freud consulted.
The defense presented extensive psychiatric evidence describing the
defendants' emotional immaturity, obsessions with crime and Nietzschean
philosophy, alcohol abuse, glandular abnormalities, and sexual longings
Crowe called the defense psychiatrists a Jewish diversion.
He referred to the two defendants as "cowardly perverts", "snakes",
"atheists", "spoiled smart alecs", and "mad dogs." For Crowe, this was a
premeditated crime committed by two remorseless defendants, and the
appropriate punishment was obvious. The "real defense" in the case,
according to Crowe, was "Clarence Darrow and his peculiar philosophy of
life." He wanted the electric chair
For the murder of Bobby Franks, they got life. For kidnapping the boy,
they got ninety-nine years.
Leopold Attempts A Sexual Liaison
And is killed in prison
On January 28, 1936, inmate James Day
attacked Loeb in a shower , with a straight razor, causing 58 wounds.
Loeb, naked and covered with blood, staggered out of the shower. Loeb was
rushed to the prison hospital for blood transfusions. Leopold watched as
prison doctors and two Loeb family physicians tried unsuccessfully to save
his friend's life.
Loeb Is paroled
A famous attorney, Nathan Gertz, gets Loeb paroled
Nathan Leopold, who had been an exemplary and even heroic
prisoner, and was paroled in 1958, after Erle Stanley Gardner and
Carl Sandburg testified at his parole hearing.
The famous Jewish author testified to the parole board.