Crime: 24 Years to Page One

He was positively identified only 28 hours after the cruelly mutilated bodies were discovered in a South Side Chicago apartment. Only 67 hours after the crime, Richard Benjamin Speck, 24, was detained as the prime suspect in the mass murder of eight young nurses on July 14. In the brief interlude between the slayings and the arrest, Speck played out a drama almost as incredible as the killings of which he is accused.

Twice at the height of a fevered hunt for the killer, Speck was in the grasp of Chicago police. Twice in...