Whether or not he was actually guilty, or convicted by tainted evidence and a dubious confession, or even trial by newspaper, is the subject of a long article at Wikipedia, William Heirens. It’s one of those fascinating cases that has been much discussed and debated over six decades. It has also been the stuff of morbid fascination based on a message written in lipstick at one of the crime scenes:
While the City Sleeps was a 1956 movie, directed by Fritz Lang, inspired by the Heirens case.
Life, in its July 29, 1946 issue, gave the Heirens case two pages, with a tousled-hair photo of Heirens that made him appear wild, and has been criticized as helping to form the public perception of him.
Copyright © 1944, 2013 Time-Life
Even considering Chicago’s reputation as a city with a high murder rate, the brutality of the crimes attributed to Heirens was unusual, and got national attention.