Leopold and Loeb - Summary

The kidnapping and death of fourteen-year-old Bobby Franks causes the city of Chicago to break-out in a frenzy of those seeking justice for the young son of wealthy parents. When the murderers are named as Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, many are in shock that these bright, young, wealthy neighbors of Bobby Franks could do such a thing. 

Both boys are highly intelligent; however Loeb is an expert liar and Leopold does anything Loeb tells him. Believing they can commit the perfect crime, Loeb and Leopold pick up Bobby in a rental car as he walks home from school. They kill him quickly, and mutilate the body, thinking they will get away with Bobby’s death. 

Even though Bobby is dead, the boys use a stolen typewriter to type a ransom note for $10,000 directed to Jacob Franks. Before Mr. Franks pays the money, however, Tony Minke, taking a shortcut while on an errand, discovers Bobby’s body. In addition, Leopold unknowingly drops his eyeglasses when disposing of Bobby’s body in a culvert near Wolf Lake. 

These and other sensational details of the murder, and specific evidence at the scene, make the case popular with the public. Reporters from the Chicago Daily News connect the Chicago kidnapping and the unidentified body found in Indiana. Once the boys are caught and confess, the prosecutors ask for the death penalty. With the evidence and the city against them, their only hope is the well-known attorney Clarence Darrow.

Darrow opposes capital punishment, so withdraws the initial “not guilty” plea, allowing him to try the case without a jury. He pleads for mercy for Leopold and Loeb during a 12-hour court hearing; the judge sentences the boys to life in prison.

Some years later, while in Statesville Prison, Loeb’s cellmate kills him.  Leopold, however, manages to rehabilitate himself, write an autobiography and learn 28 languages; he is released from prison.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5155stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 01, 1999

Updated Last Revision: Nov 09, 2016

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"Leopold and Loeb" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 01, 1999. Sep 24, 2018.
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