Murderous minds - Serial killers

August 29, 1971 - Nathan Leopold Jr dies of a heart attack.


August 29, 1971 - Nathan Leopold Jr dies of a heart attack.


Leopold and Loeb Being Assigned to Jail Quarters


Leopold and Loeb Being Assigned to Jail Quarters


My grandmother: “You need to date some nice Jewish boys”

Me: “OK”


For anyone interested in researching this case, here are some helpful links I’ve found along the way:

-The Clarence Darrow Digital Collection: Has access to the trial transcripts, letters Darrow and Leopold wrote to each other, pictures, and other relevant articles. Has…

HISTORICAL DUOS MEME || [1/??] friendships or relationships or bromances: Leopold and Loeb

Nathan Freudenthal Leopold, Jr. (November 19, 1904 – August 29, 1971) and Richard Albert Loeb (June 11, 1905 – January 28, 1936), more commonly known as “Leopold and Loeb”, were two wealthy University of Chicago law students who kidnapped and murdered 14-year-old Robert “Bobby” Franks in 1924 in Chicago. [x]

The circumstances of the crime involved the murder of a young boy, Bobby Franks, by Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, young men from wealthy Jewish families who said they killed their fourteen year old victim, whom was a distant cousin of Loeb, because they wanted to commit the perfect, motiveless crime . The case was a national and international sensation.

Their friendship had been marked by fantasies and delusions of grandeur, highly ritualized games with elaborate plots and counterplots, and the planning and carrying out of previous criminal activities together. Their friendship also had overtones of homosexuality. Several books have been written about the case, and at least four feature films have been based on the circumstances of the crime.

After a legendary trial and a masterful plea for mercy speech given by famous defense attorney, Clarence Darrow, both defendants were sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder, and an additional 99 years for the kidnapping.

On January 28, 1936,  Loeb was later attacked by a fellow inmate, James Day, with a straight razor in a shower room.  He was taken directly to the prison hospital where doctors tried to save his life. Leopold went to the hospital to find his friend barely conscious and slashed all over. Leopold offered to have his blood tested for a transfusion but was denied by the doctors, who knew there was no hope. Loeb’s last words to Leopold were “I think I’m going to make it.” Leopold then washed his friend’s body as an act of affection.

In early 1958 Leopold was released on parole after 33 years in prison. He moved to Puerto Rico, married a widowed florist, worked as a laboratory and x-ray assistant at The Brethren Service Commission, and taught mathematics at the University of Puerto Rico. He died of a diabetes-related heart attack on August 29, 1971, at the age of 66.



On May 21, 1924, two brilliant, wealthy, Chicago teenagers attempted to commit the perfect crime just for the thrill of it. Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb kidnapped 14-year-old Bobby Franks, bludgeoned him to death in a rented car, and then dumped Franks’ body in a distant culvert.

Although they thought their plan was foolproof, Leopold and Loeb made a number of mistakes that led police right to them. The subsequent trial, featuring famous attorney Clarence Darrow, made headlines and was often referred to as “the trial of the century.”

Who Were Leopold and Loeb?

Nathan Leopold was brilliant. He had an IQ of over 200 and excelled at school. By age 19, Leopold had already graduated from college and was in law school. Leopold was also fascinated with birds and was considered an accomplished ornithologist. However, despite being brilliant, Leopold was very awkward socially.

Richard Loeb was also very intelligent, but not to the same calibre as Leopold. Loeb, who had been pushed and guided by a strict governess, had also been sent to college at a young age. However, once there, Loeb did not excel; instead, he gambled and drank. Unlike Leopold, Loeb was considered very attractive and had impeccable social skills.

It was at college that Leopold and Loeb became close friends. Their relationship was both stormy and intimate. Leopold was obsessed with the attractive Loeb. Loeb, on the other hand, liked having a loyal companion on his risky adventures.

The two teenagers, who had become both friends and lovers, soon began committing small acts of theft, vandalism, and arson. Eventually, the two decided to plan and commit the “perfect crime.”

Planning the Murder

It is debated as to whether it was Leopold or Loeb who first suggested they commit the “perfect crime,” but most believe it was Loeb. No matter who suggested it, both boys participated in the planning of it.

The plan was simple: rent a car under an assumed name, find a wealthy victim (preferably a boy since girls were more closely watched), kill him in the car with a chisel, then dump the body in a culvert.

Even though the victim was to be killed immediately, Leopold and Loeb planned on extracting a ransom from the victim’s family. The victim’s family would receive a letter instructing them to pay $10,000 in “old bills,” which they would later be asked to throw from a moving train.

Interestingly, Leopold and Loeb spent a lot more time on figuring out how to retrieve the ransom than on who their victim was to be. After considering a number of specific people to be their victim, including their own fathers, Leopold and Loeb decided to leave the choice of victim up to chance and circumstance.

The Murder

On May 21, 1924, Leopold and Loeb were ready to put their plan into action. After renting a Willys-Knight automobile and covering its license plate, Leopold and Loeb needed a victim. Around 5 o’clock, Leopold and Loeb spotted 14-year-old Bobby Franks, who was walking home from school.

Loeb, who knew Bobby Franks because he was both a neighbor and a distant cousin, lured Franks into the car by asking Franks to discuss a new tennis racket (Franks loved to play tennis). Once Franks had climbed into the front seat of the car, the car took off.

Within minutes, Franks was struck several times in the head with a chisel, dragged from the front seat into the back, and then had a cloth shoved down his throat. Laying limply on the floor of the back seat, covered with a rug, Franks died from suffocation.

(It is believed that Leopold was driving and Loeb was in the back seat and was thus the actual killer, but this remains uncertain.)

Dumping the Body

As Franks lay dying or dead in the backseat, Leopold and Loeb drove toward a hidden culvert in the marshlands near Wolf Lake, a location known to Leopold because of his birding expeditions.

On the way, Leopold and Loeb stopped twice. Once to strip Franks’ body of clothing and another time to buy dinner. Once it was dark, Leopold and Loeb found the culvert, shoved Franks’ body inside the drainage pipe and poured hydrochloric acid on Franks’ face and genitals to obscure the body’s identity.

On their way home, Leopold and Loeb stopped to call the Franks’ home that night to tell the family that Bobby had been kidnapped. They also mailed the ransom letter.

They thought they had committed the perfect murder. Little did they know that by the morning, Bobby Franks’ body had already been discovered and the police were quickly on the way to discovering his murderers.

Mistakes and Arrest

Despite having spent at least six months planning this “perfect crime,” Leopold and Loeb made a lot of mistakes. The first of which was the disposal of the body.

Leopold and Loeb thought that the culvert would keep the body hidden until it had been reduced to a skeleton. However, on that dark night, Leopold and Loeb didn’t realize that they had placed Franks’ body with the feet sticking out of the drainage pipe. The following morning, the body was discovered and quickly identified.

With the body found, the police now had a location to start searching.

Near the culvert, the police found a pair of glasses, which turned out to be specific enough to be traced back to Leopold. When confronted about the glasses, Leopold explained that the glasses must have fallen out of his jacket when he fell during a birding excavation. Although Leopold’s explanation was plausible, the police continued to look into Leopold’s whereabouts. Leopold said he had spent the day with Loeb.

It didn’t take long for Leopold and Loeb’s alibis to break down. It was discovered that Leopold’s car, which they had said they had driven around all day in, had been actually been at home all day. Leopold’s chauffeur had been fixing it.

On May 31, just ten days after the murder, both 18-year-old Loeb and 19-year-old Leopold confessed to the murder.

Leopold and Loeb’s Trial

The young age of the victim, the brutality of the crime, the wealth of the participants, and the confessions, all made this murder front page news. With the public decidedly against the boys and an extremely large amount of evidence tying the boys to the murder, it was almost certain that Leopold and Loeb were going to receive the death penalty.

Fearing for his nephew’s life, Loeb’s uncle went to famed defense attorney Clarence Darrow and begged him to take the case. Darrow was not asked to free the boys, for they were surely guilty; instead, Darrow was asked to save the boys’ lives by getting them life sentences rather than the death penalty.

Darrow, a long-time advocate against the death penalty, took the case.

On July 21, 1924, the trial against Leopold and Loeb began. Most people thought Darrow would plead them not guilty by reason of insanity, but in a surprising last minute twist, Darrow had them plead guilty.

With Leopold and Loeb pleading guilty, the trial would no longer require a jury because it would become a sentencing trial. Darrow believed that it would be harder for one man to live with the decision to hang Leopold and Loeb than it would be for twelve who would share the decision. The fate of Leopold and Loeb was to rest solely with Judge John R. Caverly.

The prosecution had over 80 witnesses that presented the cold blooded murder in all its gory details. The defense focused on psychology, especially the boys’ upbringing.

On August 22, 1924, Clarence Darrow gave his final summation. It lasted approximately two hours and is considered one of the best speeches of his life.

After listening to all the evidence presented and thinking carefully on the matter, Judge Caverly announced his decision on September 19, 1924. Judge Caverly sentenced Leopold and Loeb to jail for 99 years for kidnapping and for the rest of their natural lives for murder. He also recommended that they never be eligible for parole.

The Deaths of Leopold and Loeb

Leopold and Loeb were originally separated, but by 1931 they were again close. In 1932, Leopold and Loeb opened a school in the prison to teach other prisoners.

On January 28, 1936, Loeb was attacked in the shower by his cellmate. He was slashed over 50 times with a straight razor and died of his wounds.

Leopold stayed in prison and wrote an autobiography, Life Plus 99 Years. He was paroled in March of 1958 and moved to Puerto Rico, where he married in 1961.

Leopold died on August 30, 1971 from a heart attack.


Killers and high IQ: NATHAN LEOPOLD

Nathan was the son of a wealthy family of immigrant German Jews who had made a freight and transport-related fortune since their arrival in the United States.
Reportedly a child prodigy with an IQ of 210, Nathan spoke his first words at 4 months old and amazed a succession of nannies and governesses with his intellectual precocity. In the 1920’s Nathan had already completed an undergraduate degree at the University of Chicago, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and was attending law school at the University of Chicago.

He claimed to have been able to speak 27 languages fluently, and was an expert ornithologist. Nathan, along with several other ornithologists (zoologist who focuses on birds) were the first to discover the Kirtland’s warbler in their area in over half a century. Nathan planned to transfer to Harvard Law School in September after taking a trip to Europe. Although Nathan and Loeb knew each other casually while growing up, their relationship flourished when they met at the University of Chicago as teenagers. They quickly formed a strong friendship. Nathan and Loeb found that they had a mutual interest in crime, Nathan being particularly interested in Friedrich Nietzsche’s theory of the superman.

It was now that they began to look deeper into their criminal interests that the two boys began to commit crimes for themselves. Nathan agreed to act as Loeb’s accomplice. They began with petty theft and vandalism. They broke into a fraternity house at the university. They stole penknives, a camera and a typewriter (later used to type the ransom letter). Nathan and Loeb soon committed a series of more and more serious crimes such as arson. He and Loeb had formed a strong intimate relationship with each other. This relationship was thought to be Loeb’s way of repaying Nathan for his participation in the crimes, or even used to convince him to follow through on his plans. Loeb was the dominant figure in this relationship and possessed the power over Nathan. They became increasingly obsessed with the development and commission of the perfect crime.

On May 21, 1924, Loeb and Nathan put their plan into action, collecting a rental car, obscuring its number plates and then driving to their old alma mater, the Harvard School, in search of a convenient victim. They settled on 14-year-old Bobby Franks, a neighbor of the Loebs. Lured into the car, Franks was hit over the head with a chisel by Loeb and gagged before being hidden under some blankets on the back seat of the car. After depositing Franks’ body in a culvert at nearby Wolf Lake, they delivered the ransom note to the boy’s father, Jacob Franks. Unbeknownst to Nathan and Loeb, Jacob Franks had contacted the police, and Bobby Franks’ body was found and identified before the ransom was delivered.

Nathan and Loeb were interrogated by police and eventually Loeb admitted the murder, claiming that Nathan had been the driving force behind the plan and that he had struck the fatal blow on Franks. Nathan claimed the opposite was true. The families hired Clarence Darrow, the country’s foremost criminal defense lawyer, to represent the pair at trial.

On September 24, 1924 Nathan and Loeb each received a life sentence for the murder. Early in 1958, after 33 years in prison, Nathan was released on parole. In April of that year, he set up the Leopold foundation “to aid emotionally disturbed, retarded, or delinquent youths” which would be funded by the royalties from his book, Life Plus 99 Years. But in July, the State of Illinois voided his charter for the organization, saying it violated the terms of his parole. In 1961, he married a widowed American social worker named Trudi de Queveda. On August 30, 1971, Nathan died of a diabetes-related heart attack.



Leopold and Loeb


1. Ted Kaczynski (A.K.A. The Unabomber) - Ted Kaczynski is hard to top. Labeled not merely a serial killer, but a ‘domestic terrorist’ by the FBI, Kaczynski skipped the 5th grade after testing 167 on an IQ test. He entered Harvard at the age of 16 where he earned his undergraduate degree by…


Nathan Leopold was a genius with an IQ of 210. He spoke his first words at the age of four months. At the age of 19,  he had already completed an undergraduate degree at the University of Chicago, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and was attending law school at the University of Chicago. He claimed to have been able to speak 27 languages fluently. 


Nathan Leopold was a genius with an IQ of 210. He spoke his first words at the age of four months. At the age of 19,  he had already completed an undergraduate degree at the University of Chicago, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and was attending law school at the University of Chicago. He claimed to have been able to speak 27 languages fluently. 






My friend made this awesome graphic and wanted me to share it with you guys.
Five deadly men who got caught because they thought they were too smart to get caught.
From left to right: Ted Bundy, Ted Kaczynski, Gordon Stewart Northcott, H.H. Holmes, and Nathan Leopold.


My friend made this awesome graphic and wanted me to share it with you guys.

Five deadly men who got caught because they thought they were too smart to get caught.

From left to right: Ted Bundy, Ted Kaczynski, Gordon Stewart Northcott, H.H. Holmes, and Nathan Leopold.