Bod­ies of ‘In Cold Blood’ killers ex­humed for tests

DNA ev­i­dence could link pair to killing of Florida fam­ily.

Austin American-Statesman - - THE SECOND FRONT - SEN­SA­TIONAL CRIME EN­DURES Au­thor Tru­man Capote wrote about the 1959 mur­der of a Kansas fam­ily com­mit­ted by Hick­ock and Smith. Capote’s best­selling book, In Cold Blood, was pub­lished in 1966 and later was turned into a movie. The story of the crimes has be

Richard Hick­ock LANS­ING, KAN. — The bod­ies of the two men ex­e­cuted for the 1959 mur­ders of a Kansas fam­ily that be­came in­fa­mous in Tru­man Capote’s true-crime book “In Cold Blood” were ex­humed Tues­day in an ef­fort to solve slay­ings of a Florida fam­ily killed weeks later.

The bod­ies of Richard Hick­ock and Perry Smith were ex­humed from the Mount Mun­cie Ceme­tery in Lans­ing at the re­quest of the Sara­sota County, Fla., Sher­iff’s Of­fice, the Kansas Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion an­nounced.

The men were ex­e­cuted for the mur­ders of Herb and Bon­nie Clut­ter and their chil­dren in Hol­comb, Kan., on Nov. 15, 1959.

A Sara­sota County sher­iff’s de­tec­tive has been try­ing to de­ter­mine whether Smith and Hick­ock were re­spon­si­ble for the deaths of Cliff and Chris­tine Walker and their two young chil­dren on Dec. 19, 1959, in their home in Osprey, about four hours north­west of Mi­ami near Sara­sota. Smith and Hick­ock fled to Florida af­ter the Clut­ter mur­ders.

Sara­sota County De­tec­tive Kim­berly McGath said she re­quested the ex­huma­tion to ob­tain DNA that could be com­pared to that from se­men found on Chris­tine Walker’s un­der­wear. All the Walk­ers were shot. Chris­tine Walker also was beaten and raped. Their 2-yearold daugh­ter also was drowned in a bath­tub.

De­tec­tives who in­ves­ti­gated the Walker mur­ders have con­sid­ered Smith and Hick­ock pos­si­ble sus­pects since 1960. The two men checked out of a Mi­ami Beach mo­tel on Dec. 19, the day the Walker fam­ily was killed, and at some point that day bought items at a Sara­sota de­part­ment store.

Wit­nesses have said they spoke with Smith and Hick­ock in Tal­la­has­see on Dec. 21.

McGath said the Walk­ers were con­sid­er­ing buy­ing a 1956 Chevy Bel Air, the kind of car Smith and Hick­ock were driv­ing through Florida. McGath thinks the Walk­ers met with the men be­cause of the car, which had been stolen.

Smith and Hick­ock were later ar­rested in Las Ve­gas. A poly­graph test cleared them of the Walker mur­ders but a poly­graph ex­pert said in 1987 that such tests were worth­less in the early 1960s.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

The grave mark­ers of Richard Hick­ock and Perry Smith in Lans­ing, Kan.

Perry Smith

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