The pair of glasses that belonged to Nathan Leopold. The glasses were found near the body of 14-year-old Bobby Franks and eventually led to the arrest of Leopold and Loeb. The glasses are now owned by the Chicago History Museum.
19-year-old Nathan Leopold and 18-year-old Richard Loeb were both law students at the University of Chicago when they decided that they wanted to commit the “perfect crime.” During the summer of 1924, the two young men rented a car and drove to a local private school where they met 14-year-old Robert Franks and offered him a ride. They had picked this boy due to the fact that he was the son of a wealthy watch manufacturer. The murderous duo had already written a ransom note when they picked the young boy up and it was delivered to his father, Jacob, the following morning. Before Jacob even had a chance to respond to the ransom note, the body of his son was found in a culvert. Found near his body was a pair of glasses which were traced back to Leopold. They confessed that they had attempted to knock the boy unconscious with a chisel but they had hit him too hard, killing him. Loeb died in prison in 1936 and Leopold was released in 1958.
Stateville Correctional Center (SCC) is a maximum security prison for
men, located in Crest Hill, Illinois, about 38 miles from Chicago. SCC was built in 1925 with an original inmate
capacity of 1,506 inmates, and expanded over time to accommodate over 4,300. SCC
is notable for its “F-house” cell block, which was designed after the
panopticon concept. Also referred to as a “roundhouse”, the F-house cell block
features four tiers of cells in a circle, with an armed tower in the center. Since
the 1990s, F-house has been the only roundhouse cell block in the United
States. In December of 2016, the Illinois Department of Corrections announced
that F-house would be closed permanently, as part of an effort by Gov. Bruce
Rauner to repair the Illinois prison system. Prison watch dog and advocacy
groups have called for F-house to be shut down for years, amidst concerns for
inmate safety and the long-term effects of the “cage-like, chaotic” nature of
the cell block. All sounds were amplified by the high ceilings and cement,
creating a “sensory nightmare”, and inmates were not able to determine if they
were being watched by the guards in the tower or by other inmates at any time,
so had to live as if they were always being watched. The structure will remain
standing due to its historical significance, but will never house inmates
Notable inmates at Stateville have included:
Richard Speck – In 1966, Speck tortured, raped and murdered eight student
nurses from the South Chicago Community hospital. His sentence of death was
overturned and he was given eight consecutive life sentences instead. Speck
died of a heart attack in 1991.
Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb – Of the famed Leopold and Loeb, two
wealthy University of Chicago students who kidnapped and murdered a 14 year old
boy, because they believed their wealth and superiority allowed them to commit “the
Courtroom picture of Leopold and Loeb on trial in Chicago for the murder of 14 year old Bobby Franks. Their crime was dubbed the first “thrill kill” in America. They were both sentenced to life in prison in 1924.
Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were two wealthy and intelligent students at the University of Chicago. After a series of petty crimes, the pair were disappointed with the lack of media coverage received and decided to plan and commit what they intended to be the “perfect crime.”
Leopold and Loeb spent seven months meticulously planning every aspect of the murder, down to the disposal of the body, before finally carrying it out on May 21,1924. After searching for a suitable victim, they decided on 14 year old Bobby Franks. After luring Franks into a rented vehicle, he was struck several times in the head with a chisel, most likely by Loeb. He was then gagged with a rag. Franks’ body was dumped in a culvert, 25 miles south of Chicago. A ransom note was then delivered to the Franks family.
Leopold and Loeb’s downfall came when a pair of eyeglasses, which they had accidentally left near the body, were traced back to Leopold. The ransom note was also found to have been typed on Leopold’s typewriter. Loeb was first to confess, followed by Leopold soon after.
Clarence Darrow was hired by Loeb’s family to defend the two teenage thrill killers. Both Leopold and Loeb were sentenced to life imprisonment, having pled guilty and avoided the death penalty with Darrow’s help.
Richard Loeb was murdered by a fellow inmate in 1936 and Nathan Leopold survived prison and was paroled in 1958.
The train car is rattling and shaking and Nathan finds
quickly that it is only by gripping the bar of the bunk closest to the wall
with one hand and the side of the bed which moves upward to prevent falling out
with the other, while simultaneously bracing one foot against the wall behind
him, that he is able to stay balanced while draped over Richard. Though indeed
this slightly uncomfortable position is well worth it for the sight of Richard
beneath him tousled and flushed and out of his element in a way that goes
beyond their usual trysts. He looks in fact a little bit nervous though Nathan
even in this situation knows better than to point something like that out.
“I’ve sucked you off before,” Nathan reminds him. “And
you’ve done the same for me.”
Richard frowns up at him. “Well, we didn’t like it,” he
says, watching at Nathan’s face and then at the way he grips the bed with both
hands. His knuckles are white and tense and he wonders if perhaps they
should’ve stayed on the lower bunk.
“You like kissing all right,” Nathan says, and hopes it
doesn’t sound too much like the question it really is.
Richard snorts. “Yeah,” he says. “It’s all right.” Which
means that it’s good, and Richard is done with this game, or he will be very
soon if Nathan doesn’t lay off questioning.
Nathan exhales. For a moment tempted to bury his face
against the side of Richard’s neck but they’re already halfway to Charlevoix
and Richard is only half-hard against his thigh under him in the shaking bunk
of the rattling car with the world whipping past their eyes and no light but
the sun to show Nathan where he is, what he’s doing—
“Have you ever fucked a man before?” Richard asks after what
feels like several hours.
“No,” Nathan says, reaching between them to undo the opening
in his fly.
okay also one more thing i promise but okay nathan and richard saw each other frequently in jail between the time when they were finally allowed to see each other again and the time of richard’s death. apparently richard worked at the greenhouse and nathan worked in the library and the two places were close enough that they could see each other often. every morning they spoke together after breakfast for twenty minutes. they played games together like bridge and handball. they established a better education system together for the prison (it’s unknown if they used this as a cover for homosexual activities but i’m gonna go with a definite yes on that one). the morning of richard’s death they spoke, they had plans for that afternoon. richard went to the showers alone and when nathan heard that he had been stabbed he was shocked because he had literally just seen him. nathan was with richard when he died. and it seems to be the case that richard was aware of nathan’s presence prior to losing consciousness. just the fact that they were speaking and they weren’t angry with each other to the point that they hated each other, the fact that richard didn’t die without ever seeing nathan again, or that nathan didn’t have some cruel parting word bestowed on richard prior to his death…… and that they were in communication not just regularly but every single day, i’m just. i’m shook. i’m in tears. “dick could charm the birds off the trees”, said nathan, an ornithology expert who would know. i’m never going to recover from this shit
This is the original ransom note sent to the family of Bobby Franks, after Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb had killed him on May 21, 1924. It’s amazing and terrifying to actually hold it in your hands.