Notorious Crimes: Leopold and Loeb

Bobby Franks“They drove the dead Bobby Franks (14 years old) to a nearby preserve, and, after Leopold poured hydrochloric acid over the boy’s face and genitals (he had heard that a body could be identified by its genitals), they stuffed their victim into a drainage pipe. But for Leopold’s glasses falling out of his pocket and onto the ground, the decisive clue in the apprehension of the murderers, they would doubtless have brought the crime off successfully.

Neither killer showed any remorse after being captured and indicted for murder. Kidnapping had been involved; they had sent a ransom note to their victim’s family. But money wasn’t their true motive. Perfection was. Leopold and Loeb dreamed of committing the perfect crime, and they found philosophical backing for their desire in Nietzsche’s notion of the Übermensch. Leopold wrote to Loeb: “A superman . . . is, on account of certain superior qualities inherent in him, exempted from the ordinary laws which govern men. He is not liable for anything he may do.”…. <More>


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