May 21, 1924 - It was on this day that two wealthy teenagers from Chicago set out to commit the perfect murder.
Nathan Leopold (19) and Richard Loeb (18) kidnapped and killed 14-year-old Bobby Franks. Leopold and Loeb lured Franks into a rented car as he walked home from school. Experts believe that Leopold then killed Franks with a chisel.
The boy's body was dropped off at a remote spot near Hammond, Indiana. Hydrochloric acid was poured on the corpse in an attempt to make identification more difficult.
Upon returning to Chicago, Leopold and Loeb rattled off a ransom letter to the dead boy's mother. But their plot quickly unraveled as Bobby Frank's body was discovered before the ransom could be paid.
A pair of Loeb's eyeglasses were also found near the scene of the crime. Loeb claimed he had lost them while birdwatching.
Eyewitness testimony and collapsing alibis spelled doom for Leopold and Loeb. Each would eventually confess to the crime, and each would blame the other for delivering the fatal blow.
The court case that followed would become a media circus and it was the first to be dubbed "The Trial of the Century." The world was fascinated by the case of two rich kids trying to get away with the perfect crime.
Their lawyer was the legendary Clarence Darrow, and in their defense he would argue that Leopold and Loeb were victims of their education and upbringing. They were "broken machines" who had acquired warped perspectives of reality.
This terrible crime was inherent in his organism, and it came from some ancestor. Is any blame attached because somebody took Nietzsche's philosophy seriously and fashioned his life upon it? It is hardly fair to hang a 19-year-old boy for the philosophy that was taught him at the university?
In the end, the judge seemed to buy into Darrow's argument and Leopold and Loeb were spared the death penalty. Each was sentenced to life in prison for the murder, plus an additional 99 years for the kidnapping.
12 years into his prison term, Richard Loeb was murdered by a fellow inmate using a straight razor. Nathan Leopold would actually be paroled after 33 years behind bars. He moved to Puerto Rico and worked in a hospital as an x-ray technician. He died in 1971.