1 Nathan Leopold, not Richard Loeb, was likely the dominant partner and the actual killer of 14-year-old Bobby Franks.

This is the major new claim advanced by Greg King and Penny Wilson’s Nothing but the Night: Leopold & Loeb and the Truth Behind the Murder That Rocked 1920s America, out September 20. “History (and Leopold) portrayed Loeb as the psychopathic impresario, with Nathan positioned as his weak, infatuated disciple,” the authors write. “But we discovered evidence contradicting this view.” Correspondence between the young men suggests Leopold was the aggressor in their sexual relationship. After the 1924 kidnapping-murder, Loeb was the first to crack under police questioning and to express remorse. And while Loeb enjoyed planning crimes, Leopold thrilled in violence and embraced Nietzschean ideas about “supermen” exempt from laws. “Richard wanted a crime partner; what he got was a sociopath,” the authors write.

2 Chicago law enforcement officials treated the suspects indulgently.

During questioning, authorities allowed the wealthy South Side heirs to meet with family members and speak to the press, and took them to dinner at Chicago’s elegant Drake Hotel. A reporter later smuggled liquor into jail for them.

3 Defense attorney Clarence Darrow’s famous closing argument was no masterpiece.

In fact, it consumed three days and was “dishonest, disjointed, and often offensive,” particularly in its references to Bobby Franks. Darrow pleaded his clients guilty to avoid a jury trial. That entailed suppressing findings by the defense’s psychiatric experts that Leopold and Loeb met the legal definition of insanity. Nevertheless, Darrow persuaded Judge John Caverly to spare the 19-year-olds’ lives, in part because of their youth.

4 Leopold and Loeb may have been responsible for other serious crimes.

The pair didn’t just prepare for the Franks murder with fraternity burglaries at the University of Chicago, where they were students. Loeb admitted to psychiatrists enlisted by the defense team that he had committed “at least four additional unknown crimes.” King and Wilson speculate the two men may have been involved in several thefts using a chisel as a weapon — as well as a gruesome sexual assault, a murder, and a mysterious death. The assault victim, Charles Ream, who was castrated, brought a civil lawsuit against the pair that resulted in a hung jury — and “a large cash settlement” from the two families.

5 Leopold may have instigated Loeb’s 1936 prison slaying.

Loeb, an exemplary prisoner, was stabbed to death by a former cellmate. King and Wilson contend that the killing allowed Leopold to assume control of the partners’ narrative and eventually win parole in 1958: “Death deprived Richard of the redemption story Nathan would soon claim for himself.”