Modern day Leopold and Loeb crime in Perry

Published 7:43 pm Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Approximately 92 years ago, a crime occurred in Chicago that was more infamous than the Lindbergh kidnapping. A similar crime occurred in Perry, Georgia, just two years ago. In both crimes, young men, whom some would say were social outcasts, made decisions that would tragically change their lives forever. In both cases, these young men were intoxicated with the idea of taking the life of another human being.

In the Chicago case, two brilliant young men, Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, on May 21,1924, lured 14-year-old Bobby Franks into their automobile and killed him believing they could commit a perfect crime. These young men were children of privilege. Loeb’s father, in fact, had been a vice-president with the Sears Roebuck and Company.

It was discovered during the trial, that the two men in Chicago were homosexual lovers and appeared not to have any other social acquaintances. Their worlds centered around each other. This did not matter. When famous and renowned litigator, Clarence Darrow, who was their lawyer, took the case, he persuaded them to plead guilty. This meant that the trial proceeded without a jury. This was indeed a major capital punishment case where the death penalty was on the table.

Darrow, however, a seasoned litigator, captured the world’s attention — including that of the judge. When he completed his defense of the two young men, he was so successful in presenting the two young murderers as victims that even the presiding judge, John R. Caverly, was brought to tears. He gave Loeb and Leopold life in prison. In doing so, he stated that “the consideration of the age of the defendants” and the possible benefits to criminology that might come from future study of them persuaded him that life in prison, not death, was “the better punishment.”

In Perry, Georgia, two young men, Brandon Warren and Dakota White, enamored with each other, also believed that they could commit a murder with impunity. For some reason, they too, wanted to experience what it felt like to kill a human being. The two young men had a pact. They would commit suicide after the murder. After considerable discussions on the matter, they quickly put their plan into action and lured 18-year-old Sam Poss out of his home on the pretense of needing his assistance with a problem White was having related to a game on his computer.

After getting Poss into the car, they drove him to the home of White’s grandparents. While in the driveway, White who was seated in the back seat of the vehicle, tried to strangle Poss with a computer cord. When the cord broke, White grabbed Poss by the neck with his arm, while Warren proceeded to stab him.

During the trial, they both blamed each other for playing the leading role in the crime. Brandon Warren, however, was ultimately sentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole and Dakota White, who cooperated with prosecutors will be sentenced later.