Get everything you need to know about Clutter Family Murders’ story! Happened That Day?
In the early hours of November 15, 1959, Herb Clutter, his wife Bonnie, and their teenage children Nancy and Kenyon were shot and killed in their isolated home.
Not far from the Kansas farm community of Holcomb. Two ex-offenders who were found guilty of the killings as well as given the death penalty were Perry Smith as well as Richard Hickock. The killings were described by Truman Capote in his widely read book In Cold Blood in 1966.
Perry Edward Smith, as well as Richard Eugene Hickock, were both put behind bars after finding out Herb Clutter was extremely wealthy and had money stashed away in a safe location in his home from another prisoner.
This prisoner told Hickock and Smith that he had previously worked for the Clutters. Quickly after being imprisoned, Hickock and Smith came up with a plan to get their hands on the hidden money.
They went to the Clutter house outside of Holcomb, Kansas, even though only 4 of the 6 family members were present at home at the time. They discovered there was no cash-storage safe when they first arrived at the house.
Then Herb Clutter woke up. Mr. Clutter offered them the little he had while announcing that there was no more money.
The rest of the family was awakened, and they reconnoitered the home to confirm Clutter’s account for themselves. They carried out a home invasion and only took a transistor radio, some binoculars, and about $50.
All four family members were executed by the man. They killed the Clutter family because they had gathered as much information as they could and believed Herb Clutter wasn’t going to reveal where the money was.
Herbert “Herb” Clutter was a prosperous farmer in west Kansas. His two older daughters, Evanna and Beverly, had grown up and left home. His two young children, Kenyon, 15, and Nancy, 16, were in high school. Bonnie Clutter was allegedly physically ill and experiencing clinical depression following the birth of her children, although this was later proven false. Nancy Clutter and Kenyon both attended Holcomb High School.
Two ex-offenders, Perry Smith and Richard “Dick” Hickock, had just been granted probation by the Kansas State Penitentiary.
Floyd Wells, a seasoned farmhand for Herb Clutter, had been Hickock’s cellmate. Wells told Hickock that Clutter kept a large amount of cash in a safe.
Contrarily, Clutter had no safe and conducted all of his business through checks. After talking to Wells, Hickock quickly devised a plan to open the safe and begin a new life in Mexico.
In the end, Hickock made contact with Smith, a different ex-cellmate, to plan the theft with him.
Hickock described his strategy as “a cinch, the perfect score,” according to Truman Capote, who chronicled the Clutter family killings in the nonfiction book In Cold Blood.
What did the police witness?
Herb Clutter was discovered in the cellar, bleeding from multiple stab wounds and a shotgun charge to the head. He wore pajamas. His arms were restrained, and his mouth was restrained as well.
After being shot in the forehead, Kenyon Neal Clutter was restrained and muzzled on a couch in the adjacent room. Both Mrs. Bonnie Mae Clutter’s and Nancy Mae Clutter’s bodies were discovered upstairs in separate rooms.
Nancy was only restrained, while Mrs. Clutter was also gagged. Each individual had a headshot. Chief Mitchell Geisler of the Garden City Police Department was one of the first officers to arrive on the scene.
He was accompanied by Assistant Chief Ritch Rohleder. Chief Mitchell Subset of features of the Garden City Police Department was one of the first officers to arrive on the scene. He was accompanied by Assistant Chief Ritch Rohleder. As a skilled photographer, Rohleder used his knowledge to capture the crime scene.
A bloody footprint that belonged to Smith has been discovered thanks to Rohleder’s photographs, even though modern technology wasn’t nearly as sophisticated as it is now. This carbon footprint was not visible to the unaided eye.
In addition, a photo of the murderers’ hastily constructed tire trail was taken. Alvin Dewey of the Kansas Bureau of Investigations (KBI) directed the investigation with assistance from 4 KBI investigators.
To gather information and leads, he also turned to several governmental organizations.
The murderers were apprehended!
Following the murders, Hickock and Smith made their way to the Kansas City area, where Hickock wrote several cashier’s checks.
After overstaying their welcome, they decided to leave and temporarily relocated to Mexico. After pawning the binoculars, they ultimately decided to travel through California to Omaha, Nebraska.
They left Omaha after a brief stay, traveled to Iowa, where they stole a car, and then returned to the Kansas City area. They eventually traveled from Kansas City to Florida and Nevada.
Dewey and the KBI finally caught up with them in Nevada on December 31, 1959. Before being apprehended by law enforcement in Nevada, Hickock as well as Smith was still using the getaway car they had acquired in Iowa.
They also had possession of the boot that left the bloody print. After word of their capture spread, Dewey and three other KBI investigators flew to Nevada to persuade the two men to tell the truth.
After learning the truth, they were permitted to take a flight from Nevada to Garden City, where they were indicted for murder in Finney County District Court.
On March 29, 1960, a jury comprised entirely of men found a murderer guilty and recommended the death penalty.
They were imprisoned in Leavenworth, Kansas, for the next five years for murder (just north of Kansas City). They were quietly executed by hanging in the death chamber on the grounds of the jail on April 14, 1965.