“inspired the Truman Capote's In Cold Blood”
This place is on private property. Listing for informational purposes only. Please do not visit without express permission from the land owner. 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 IN COLD BLOOD as a teen, just a few years after the Clutter killings, and ever since, then, I have thought how often the course and evil appropriates the good and pure. That such exceptional, talented, accomplished, and altogether great people as the Clutters could die in pain and terror at the hands of a couple of worthless, low-life drifters, is something most people just can't reconcile with the belief in a good and all-powerful God. As an aside, I think Herb Clutter would just hate his expensive, well-built 14-room house that he designed himself, being referred to as a "humble little home". That is one hell of a nice house!
This humble little home has a fascinating place in history. Two drifters brutally murdered a family living here during the late 1950's, and the crime, subsequent hunt for and capture of the murderers, and eventual trial were written about by Truman Capote in his well-known true-crime novel In Cold Blood. The house is on private property, but you can cruise past and get an even better sense of the wild story.
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In Cold Blood - Clutter House
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