It was 1924 and the handsome, charismatic Richard Loeb had already graduated from the University of Michigan--he was 18 years old. Brilliant, loaded (he was the son of a Sears, Roebuck & Co. executive), idle, and immature, Loeb became obsessed with crime and, much like Winona, began committing petty crimes just for the fun of it. His obsession evolved into an elaborate fantasy involving murder.

Spurring Loeb on was his friend and lover, Nathan Leopold, an equally brilliant Nietzschean philosopher and budding ornithologist. Smitten with Nietzsche's critiques of moral codes and his idea that "the superman" is above the law, Leopold declared himself and Loeb such supermen, permitting them to kill at will.

Thus, Birdboy and Crime Guy set to work. On May 21 they lured one of their homeboys, Bobby Franks, into their car and somehow killed him with a chisel! Then they stuffed the body into a drainage pipe and, with incredible gall, called the victim's parents, telling them anonymously that their son had been kidnapped and they were to await further instructions. Unfortunately, the Perfect Crime was never completed because Leopold left his glasses on Franks' body. Naturally, the glasses were quickly discovered, traced, and Leopold and Loeb were arrested.

The trial was called "the trial of the century" for a while (until another trial came along to beat it out), thanks in large part to the defendants' lawyer, Clarence Darrow, and his 12-hour-long plea to save his clients from death row. This included a juicy tirade that has been called "the most eloquent attack on the death penalty ever delivered in an American courtroom." Eventually, the two swishy scoundrels were handed a couple of life sentences and carted off to jail. Loeb was killed in a razor fight 12 years later, while Leopold became fluent in nearly 30 different languages, reinvented the prison library, was eventually released on probation at the age of 63, married a chick, and published a book entitled The Birds of Puerto Rico. JUSTIN WESCOAT SANDERS