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THE TRIAL OF THE CENTURY On Wednesday May 21 1924 fourteen-year-old Bobby Franks walked home from school by himself A car stopped and a familiar face appeared in its open window Bobby got in and the car raced away He would never be seen alive again The familiar faces were those of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb Both were attractive young men who were very intelligent Bobby Franks disappearance would lead to one of the most recognized stories of crime and punishment in United States history The case was famous in the 1920s for a number of reasons First two wealthy young men decided that they wanted to try to get away with murder They had no reason for killing other than that they wanted to see if they could do it and escape detection and punishment Second WGN a prominent radio station in Chicago wanted to get permission to air the arguments straight from the courtroom foreshadowing the recent trial of the century of OJ Simpson Third Clarence Darrow argued for the defense He introduced psychological evidence into the legal system for the first time reflecting an increase in interest in that field of study These last two factors turned this trial into a media frenzy The public stopped being concerned with the victim and his family but were now in need of being directly involved with the case The trial was not about the death of a completely innocent boy it was instead a proving ground for the admittance of a new type of evidence and a new answer to the question of guilty or not guilty The defendant pleads insanity On June 5 1924 the grand jury indicted the two boys on eleven counts of murder and sixteen counts of kidnapping The very next day their full confessions were published in the newspapers The public was incensed not just over the crime itself but the perception fanned by the
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