The Clutter Family Murders were a shocking and brutal crime that
took place on November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas. The
murders were the subject of Truman Capote’s groundbreaking non-fiction book,
“In Cold Blood,” which tells the story of the crime and its
aftermath. Here are the details of the case:

The Crime: 

Hickock and Smith believed that the Clutter family
was wealthy and would have a lot of cash on hand. They drove from Nevada to
Kansas specifically to rob the Clutters, but they found very little money in
the house. Despite this, they proceeded to tie up and brutally murder each
member of the family, using a shotgun and a knife. They then fled the scene in
the Clutters’ car, taking with them some small items of value.

The Victims: 

The Clutter family consisted of four members: Herbert Clutter, a wealthy and respected farmer in the Holcomb community; his wife, Bonnie; and their two teenage children, Nancy and Kenyon. The family was known for their kindness, generosity, and involvement in the local church.

The Murderers: 

The killers were two men, Richard “Dick” Hickock and Perry Smith, who had met in prison and planned the crime together. Hickock had been in prison for a number of crimes, including burglary and forgery, and Smith had a history of violent behavior, including a childhood incident in which he tortured a cat.

The Investigation: 

The crime was discovered the next day when
Nancy’s best friend came to the house to go horseback riding with her and found
the door unlocked and no one answered. She then contacted the police, who
found the bodies of the Clutter family inside the house. The Kansas Bureau of
Investigation (KBI) was called in to assist with the case, and after a lengthy
investigation, Hickock and Smith were identified as the prime suspects. They
were tracked down in Las Vegas, where they had been spending the stolen money.

The Trial: 

Hickock and Smith were brought back to Kansas and put
on trial for the murder of the Clutter family. The trial was highly publicized
and drew a great deal of attention due to the brutality of the crime and the
fact that it was committed by two seemingly normal men. After a six-week trial,
both men were found guilty and sentenced to death.

The Aftermath: 

Hickock and Smith were executed by hanging on
April 14, 1965, after years of appeals and legal wrangling. The case had a
lasting impact on the town of Holcomb and the surrounding area, as well as on
the national consciousness. Truman Capote’s book, “In Cold Blood,”
was a groundbreaking work of non-fiction that delved deeply into the psychology
of the killers and the impact of crime on the community. The book has been
widely praised for its literary and journalistic qualities, but it has also
been criticized for Capote’s controversial methods of obtaining information and
for its portrayal of the killers as sympathetic characters.


 Documentation for the Clutter Family Murders in Holcomb, Kansas (1959):


On the night of November 15, 1959, four members of the Clutter family were brutally murdered in their home in Holcomb, Kansas. The murders shocked the small town and eventually led to the capture and execution of the killers, Richard ‘Dick’ Hickock and Perry Smith. This documentation will explore the events leading up to the murders, the investigation that followed, and the impact of the crime on the community.


The Clutter family consisted of four members: Herbert (the father), Bonnie (the mother), Nancy (the 16-year-old daughter), and Kenyon (the 15-year-old son). The family lived on a 400-acre farm in a rural part of Kansas. They were known for their wealth, but also for their kindness and generosity.

Events Leading Up to the Murders:

On the night of November 14, 1959, Richard ‘Dick’ Hickock and Perry Smith, two ex-convicts, drove to the Clutter family home with the intention of robbing them. They believed that the family kept a safe with a large amount of cash inside. When they arrived, they found that the safe did not exist, and they were unable to find any significant amount of money in the house. In a fit of rage, Hickock and Smith killed all four members of the Clutter family, leaving behind a gruesome crime scene.


The murders were discovered the next morning by Nancy’s friend, who had come to pick her up for church. Law enforcement officials were immediately dispatched to the scene, and an investigation was launched. The investigation included interviews with local residents, forensic analysis of the crime scene, and a search for suspects. Hickock and Smith were eventually captured in Las Vegas, Nevada, and extradited to Kansas for trial.

Trial and Execution:

Hickock and Smith were found guilty of the murders and sentenced to death by hanging. They were executed on April 14, 1965, in Lansing, Kansas. The case received national attention and was the basis for Truman Capote’s novel, “In Cold Blood.”


The Clutter Family Murders had a profound impact on the community of Holcomb, Kansas. The crime shook the small town to its core and left many residents feeling unsafe and vulnerable. The murders also had a lasting impact on the families of the victims, who struggled to come to terms with the senseless violence that took the lives of their loved ones.


The Clutter Family Murders remain one of the most infamous crimes in American history. The brutality of the crime and the impact it had on the community of Holcomb, Kansas, continues to be felt today. This documentation has provided an overview of the events leading up to the murders, the investigation that followed, and the impact of the crime on the community.