Episode 206:

Spatula City

Laurie Dann, the Winnetka School Shooter

Karen

Leopold and Loeb

Georgia

Episode 206: Spatula City

Karen and Georgia cover Laurie Dann, the Winnetka School shooter and Leopold and Loeb.

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Laurie Dann, the Winnetka School Shooter

Laurie Dann, the Winnetka School Shooter Notes:

Header Image Source: Photo by Feliphe Schiarolli on Unsplash

Other Images:

Survivor Peter Munro (via LivingAfterTrauma.com)

Laurie Dann (via Murderpedia.com police photo)

 

"Laurie Dann (née Wasserman; October 18, 1957 – May 20, 1988) was an American murderer who shot and killed one boy, Nick Corwin, and wounded two girls and three boys in a Winnetka, Illinois elementary school. She then took a family hostage and shot another man, non-fatally, before killing herself.

During the days before May 20, 1988, Laurie Dann prepared rice cereal snacks and juice boxes poisoned with the diluted arsenic she had stolen in Madison. She mailed them to a former acquaintance, ex-babysitting clients, her psychiatrist, Russell Dann, and others. In the early morning of May 20, she personally delivered snacks and juice "samples" to acquaintances, and families for whom she had babysat, some of whom had not seen her for years. Other snacks were delivered to Alpha Tau Omega, Psi Upsilon, and Kappa Sigma fraternity houses and Leverone Hall at Northwestern University in Evanston. Notes were attached to some of the deliveries. The drinks were often leaking and the squares unpleasant-tasting, so few were actually consumed. In addition, the arsenic was highly diluted so nobody became seriously ill.

At about 9:00 a.m. on the 20th, Dann arrived at the home of the Rushe family, former babysitting clients in Winnetka, Illinois, to pick up their two youngest children. The family had just told Dann they were moving away. Instead of taking the children on the promised outing, she took them to Ravinia Elementary School in Highland Park, Illinois, where she erroneously believed that both of her former sister-in-law's two sons were enrolled (in fact, one of Dann's intended targets was not even a student at the school). She left the two children in the car while she entered the school and tried to detonate a fire bomb in one of the school's hallways. After Dann's departure, the small fire she set was subsequently discovered by students, and quickly extinguished by a teacher. She drove to a local daycare attended by her ex-sister-in-law's daughter and tried to enter the building with a plastic can of gasoline, but was stopped by staff.

Next Dann drove the children back to their home and offered them some arsenic-poisoned milk, but the boys spat it out because it tasted strange to them. Once at their home, she lured them downstairs and used gasoline to set fire to the house, trapping their mother and the two children in the basement (they managed to escape). She drove three and a half blocks to the Hubbard Woods Elementary School with three handguns in her possession. She wandered into a second grade classroom for a short while, then left. Finding a boy in the corridor, Dann pushed him into the boys' washroom and shot him with a .22 semi-automatic Beretta pistol. Her Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver jammed when she tried to fire it at two other boys, and she threw it into the trash along with the spare ammunition. The boys ran out of the washroom and raised the alarm. Dann then reentered the second grade classroom where students were working in groups on a bicycle safety test. She ordered all the children into the corner of the room. The teacher refused and attempted to disarm Dann, managing to unload the Beretta in the struggle. Dann drew a .32 Smith & Wesson from the waistband of her shorts and aimed it at several groups of the students. She shot five children, killing eight-year-old Nick Corwin and wounding two girls and two boys before fleeing in her car.

Dann was prevented from leaving the area by car because the roads were closed for a funeral cortege. She decided to drive her car backwards down the nearby street, but the road dead-ended into a private drive. Abandoning her car, she removed her bloodstained shorts and tied a blue garbage bag around her waist. With her two remaining guns she made her way through the woods and came upon the house of the Andrew family. Dann entered the house and met a mother and her twenty-year-old son, who were in the kitchen. She claimed she was raped and had shot the rapist in the struggle. The Andrews were sympathetic and tried to convince her that she need not fear the police because she had acted in self-defense. Mrs. Andrew gave Dann a pair of her daughter's pants to wear. While she was putting them on, Philip Andrew was able to pick up and pocket the Beretta. He suggested that she call her family. Dann agreed and called her mother, telling her she had done something terrible and that the police were involved. Philip took the phone and explained Dann's story about the rape and shooting, suggesting that Mrs. Wasserman come to get Dann; Mrs. Wasserman said she could not come because she did not have a car.

Mr. Andrew arrived home, and they continued to argue with Dann, insisting she give up the second gun. Dann called her mother again and this time Mr. Andrew spoke with Mrs. Wasserman, asking her to persuade Dann to give up the gun. While Dann spoke with her mother, Mrs. Andrew left the house and alerted the police. Mr. Andrew told Dann that he would not remain in the house if she did not put down the gun, and also left the house. Dann ordered Philip to stay. Just before noon, seeing the police advancing on the house she shot Philip in the chest, but he managed to escape out the back door before collapsing and being rescued by the police and ambulance personnel.

With the house surrounded, Dann went upstairs to a bedroom. The Wassermans and Russell Dann were brought to the house. At about 7:00 p.m., an assault team entered the house while Mr. Wasserman attempted to get Dann's attention with a bullhorn. The police found her body in the bedroom; she had shot herself in the mouth

Dann was prevented from leaving the area by car because the roads were closed for a funeral cortege. She decided to drive her car backwards down the nearby street, but the road dead-ended into a private drive. Abandoning her car, she removed her bloodstained shorts and tied a blue garbage bag around her waist. With her two remaining guns she made her way through the woods and came upon the house of the Andrew family. Dann entered the house and met a mother and her twenty-year-old son, who were in the kitchen. She claimed she was raped and had shot the rapist in the struggle. The Andrews were sympathetic and tried to convince her that she need not fear the police because she had acted in self-defense. Mrs. Andrew gave Dann a pair of her daughter's pants to wear. While she was putting them on, Philip Andrew was able to pick up and pocket the Beretta. He suggested that she call her family. Dann agreed and called her mother, telling her she had done something terrible and that the police were involved. Philip took the phone and explained Dann's story about the rape and shooting, suggesting that Mrs. Wasserman come to get Dann; Mrs. Wasserman said she could not come because she did not have a car.

Mr. Andrew arrived home, and they continued to argue with Dann, insisting she give up the second gun. Dann called her mother again and this time Mr. Andrew spoke with Mrs. Wasserman, asking her to persuade Dann to give up the gun. While Dann spoke with her mother, Mrs. Andrew left the house and alerted the police. Mr. Andrew told Dann that he would not remain in the house if she did not put down the gun, and also left the house. Dann ordered Philip to stay. Just before noon, seeing the police advancing on the house she shot Philip in the chest, but he managed to escape out the back door before collapsing and being rescued by the police and ambulance personnel.

With the house surrounded, Dann went upstairs to a bedroom. The Wassermans and Russell Dann were brought to the house. At about 7:00 p.m., an assault team entered the house while Mr. Wasserman attempted to get Dann's attention with a bullhorn. The police found her body in the bedroom; she had shot herself in the mouth..."

—Source: Laurie Dann Wikipedia

Leopold and Loeb

Leopold and Loeb Notes:

Header Image Source: Photo by Max Bender on Unsplash

Other Images:

Bobby Franks (via Wikipedia)

Richard Loeb (via Wikipedia)

Nathan Leopold (via Wikipedia)

Leopold and Loeb (via Wikipedia)

 

"It didn’t start as the trial of the century (the 20th century, that is) — there were other compelling ones before it. (Stanford White and Evelyn Nesbit, anyone?) And it didn’t hold that title for very long; that was in 1924. The century wasn’t even one quarter over; O.J. was way in the future.

But the question of why — why did these two extremely privileged, very smart (or at least in their own estimation) young men, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, kidnap and murder Bobby Franks? They had nothing to gain except the thrill of committing what they thought would be the perfect murder.

Over the 95 or so years since the two men committed murder and soon were caught, tried, convicted, and imprisoned, their story has fascinated people. They’ve been the subject of novels, nonfiction works, movies, plays, and a great deal of scholarship.

On May 16, Dr. Paul Clemens, a longtime history professor at Rutgers, will talk about the case at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly.

Part of the reason that the story was so fascinating was that in in the summer of 1924, “not much else was happening,” Dr. Clemens said, but the appeal went far beyond the vacuum it filled. Part of it was the horror — how did these two guys who seemed to have everything go so wrong? — and part of it was the strength of the argument against capital punishment made by their very famous trial lawyer, Clarence Darrow..."

—Source: Jewish Standard article by Joanne Palmer

 

Fucking Hoorays!

Karen:

I finally started watching High Maintenance, the HBO TV show! Watch the dog episode (but also every episode!)

www.hbo.com/high-maintenance

Georgia:

I've been three weeks sober! I feel good, I'm not exhausted, I'm sleeping well — and I've been losing weight which is a bonus!