Richard Eugene Hickock and Perry Smith murdered four members of a Kansas family — Herb, Bonnie, Nancy, and Kenyon Clutter — in November 1959. Their crime, for which they were both hanged in 1965, was the subject of Truman Capote‘s most famous book, In Cold Blood.
In Cold Blood became iconic because, after extensive interviews with many of the people involved in the crime and its investigation, particularly with Hickock, Capote masterfully applied many of the techniques of fiction to recounting the story. Capote called it a non-fiction novel.
It was an early entry into the writing that was to become known as The New Journalism.
After committing the murders, Hickock and Smith began a long road trip that took them to Mexico, California, Miami, and back west to Las Vegas, where they were captured. They initially denied the crime but eventually confessed.
While they were in Florida, a similar multiple murder occurred in a small town near Sarasota. Four members of the Walker family — Christine, Cliff, Jimmie, and Debbie — were killed in their home during the Christmas season. That murder has never been solved.
Were Hickock and Smith responsible for those deaths, too?
Many people believe they were, and there is plenty of evidence that points in their direction. Becky Masterson has written an article about the similarities in the two cases and the recent investigations looking for links between the crimes for CrimeReads: ‘In Cold Blood’ and the Murders Truman Capote Missed | CrimeReads
Masterson has also written a novel based on the entire scenario, We Were Killers Once: A Thriller.
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