Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Robert E. Asher
ASHER: Yes. And I said, “Oh, yes, he would go out with us on Halloween and our parents were satisfied that we were under some kind of control. We rang door-bells, soaped windows, and so on.” “Get that manual training teacher down here!” And pretty soon I began to wake up to the fact that I was going to have the whole faculty in jail unless I shut up. So I became more discreet, after they started questioning me also about our male English teacher. But the lesson it taught me was that just by virtue of being questioned, these innocent people had things brought out in the newspapers, the Hearst Press in particular, but the Chicago Tribune and other papers as well, that marked them for life. If they had had a divorce, it raised questions in some quarters about should they be teaching, that sort of thing. And what I learned was, be careful what you say when you are being grilled.
I was told by my father not to talk to any press people, but there was a “boy reporter”— he had been a “boy reporter” for about 10 years — with the Hearst Papers in Chicago, named Horace Wade, who came to our house in knee pants with his parents, though it was obvious that he shaved regularly and was a bit more then a boy. He wanted to interview me. I said I would not be able to talk to him, and he said, “Well, I just talked to Dick Loeb, do you want to check with him?” I called Dick Loeb and he said, “Oh, yes, he is alright, you can talk to him.” Loeb and Leopold were brazen. So I gave him a little interview about Bobby Franks and what a nice boy he was.
Then, some days later the story came out. Leopold's eyeglasses were found in a culvert, the prescription was traced to Almer Coe, a well-known optometrist in Chicago, and, through them, to Nathan Leopold. The police got Leopold down and he said he had been with Loeb that day. They seemed to have a good enough alibi, but in fact it was broken and they confessed. Their motive apparently was to commit a perfect murder, get away with it, and see if they could, in addition, collect a $10,000 ransom.
Q: I am trying to remember, was it Leopold who was the driving forcbehind it, or was it Loeb? One of those was stronger, if I...?
ASHER: I thought it was Leopold in terms of brain-power and dark thoughts. Dick Loeb was a handsome, charming guy. They were both brilliant and they had finished college. I think one of the problems was that they were exposed to courses in abnormal psychology and other adult subjects when they were still children.
Q: Nietzsche, super-man, “you can do anything” sort of...?