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Wed Nov 15, 2017, 06:00 PM

Today is the day in 1959 when the Clutter family of Holcomb, Kansas, was killed.

This family:

In Cold Blood
....

Overview of the crime

Herb Clutter was a widely respected self-made man, who had established a successful and prosperous farm in western Kansas from modest beginnings. He employed as many as 18 farmhands, and former employees reportedly admired and respected him for his fair treatment and good wages. His four children—three girls and a boy—were also widely respected in the community. The elder daughters, Eveanna and Beverly, had moved out of their parents' home and started their adult lives. The two younger children, Nancy, 16, and Kenyon, 15, were high school students living at home. Clutter's wife, Bonnie, a member of the local garden club, had been incapacitated by clinical depression and physical ailments since the births of her children, although this characterization of her has been disputed by surviving family members.

Two ex-convicts recently paroled from the Kansas State Penitentiary, Richard Eugene "Dick" Hickock and Perry Edward Smith, committed the robbery and murders in the early morning hours of November 15, 1959. A former cellmate of Hickock's, Floyd Wells, had once worked as a farmhand for Mr. Clutter, and had told Hickock about a safe at the farmhouse where he claimed Herb Clutter kept large amounts of cash. Hickock soon hatched the idea to rob the safe (which he believed contained as much as ten thousand dollars), leave no witnesses, and start a new life in Mexico with the cash. According to Capote, Hickock described his plan as "a cinch, the perfect score." Hickock later contacted Smith, another former cellmate, about committing the robbery with him. The information from Wells ultimately proved to be false, however, since Herb Clutter did not keep cash on hand, had no safe, and did all his business by check, to keep better track of transactions.

After driving more than four hundred miles across the state of Kansas on the evening of November 14, Hickock and Smith arrived in Holcomb, located the Clutter home, and entered through an unlocked door while the family slept. Upon rousing the Clutters and discovering there was no safe, they bound and gagged the family and continued to search for money, but found little else of value in the house. Still determined to leave no witnesses, the pair briefly debated what to do; Smith, notoriously unstable and prone to violent acts in fits of rage, slit Herb Clutter's throat and then shot him in the head. Capote writes that Smith recounted later, "I didn't want to harm the man. I thought he was a very nice gentleman. Soft spoken. I thought so right up to the moment I cut his throat." Kenyon, Nancy, and then Mrs. Clutter were also murdered, each by a single shotgun blast to the head. Hickock and Smith left the crime scene with a small portable radio, a pair of binoculars, and less than fifty dollars in cash.

I read that book for the first time in August 1969. It was the first time I read a book from cover to cover, stopping only for bathroom breaks and maybe food.

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Reply Today is the day in 1959 when the Clutter family of Holcomb, Kansas, was killed. (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Nov 2017 OP
montanacowboy Nov 2017 #1
Bradshaw3 Nov 2017 #2
More_Cowbell Nov 2017 #3
Hoyt Nov 2017 #4
Jack-o-Lantern Nov 2017 #5
Jack-o-Lantern Nov 2017 #6

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Wed Nov 15, 2017, 06:03 PM

1. In Cold Blood

Capote never wrote another book after that

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Wed Nov 15, 2017, 06:23 PM

2. Would barely get a mention in the national news today

How we have progressed since then.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Wed Nov 15, 2017, 06:28 PM

3. I read it in a college journalism class

There are many interesting ideas about how close someone trying to be a journalist should be to the subjects of the story.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Wed Nov 15, 2017, 07:53 PM

4. I couldn't stop reading it either. I thought movie was excellent too. I swear


when I drove alone through Kansas the first time, I saw two guys that looked just like Hickock and Smith hitchhiking, rolled up jeans and all. I sped up and kept looking in my rearview mirror all the way to California.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Wed Nov 15, 2017, 08:15 PM

5. A great book and a great movie..

I would surmise that if these two losers were alive today they would be enthusiastic Trump supporters.

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