Archive for Thursday, April 25, 2013

KBI expects results soon in ‘Cold Blood’ tests

April 25, 2013


More from the Journal-World

See past coverage on this story and 'In Cold Blood' here.

— The Kansas Bureau of Investigation expects to have results early next month from tests on DNA from the two men executed for the 1959 murders inspiring Truman Capote’s classic book, “In Cold Blood,” to see whether they are linked to decades-old killings in Florida, a top KBI official said Thursday.

Officials in Florida sought testing on the remains of Perry Smith and Richard Hickock because the December 1959 murders of Cliff and Christine Walker and their two young children south of Sarasota remain unsolved. Smith and Hickock fled to Florida after the November 1959 killings of prominent farmer Herb Clutter, his wife and two of their children in their home outside the small southwest Kansas town of Holcomb.

Deputy KBI Director Kyle Smith said the agency expects to have test results in eight to 10 days. Authorities extracted DNA from bone fragments taken from Smith and Hickock’s remains when their bodies were exhumed in December.

“We’ve got a partial profile,” Smith said. “We’re hoping to get a full profile.”

Kansas hanged Smith and Hickock for the Clutter murders in 1965, and they were buried in a cemetery near the state prison in Lansing, where they’d been confined before their executions. The hunt for the killers had mesmerized the nation and drew journalists from throughout the U.S. to Holcomb.

Capote’s book takes the reader through the killings, Smith’s and Hickock’s trial, and their execution. It is celebrated because it reads like a novel, but scholars have long debated its accuracy.

The Walkers also were shot to death in their home, in Osprey, Fla. Christine Walker also was beaten and raped, and Florida officials have said they want to compare DNA from Smith’s and Hickock’s remains to DNA taken from the Walker crime scene.


Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 5 years, 1 month ago

I hope the DNA profile closes the case in Florida. The family deserves closure.

fiddleback 5 years, 1 month ago

This could also create a very damning counter to Capote's characterization of Smith, whom he portrayed sympathetically as a sensitive but tortured artist who snapped in a fit of frustration with his partner to commit the Clutter killings. The book also suggests that Smith prevented Hickock from raping the Clutter daughter and passionately opposed sexual violence. So, if they truly raped this woman and murdered two young children, Capote's portrayal starts to seem much more like convenient flattery of a total monster on whom he'd formed a crush.

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