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Hickock and Smith inmate files

Posted by Jocelyn Wehr (Digital Archivist) on May 28, 2013

Richard Eugene "Dick" Hickock and Perry Edward Smith, notorious murderers of four members of the Clutter family on November 15, 1959 in Holcomb, Kansas, were made infamous by Truman Capote's retelling "In Cold Blood". Hickock and Smith spent their time on death row at the Kansas State Penitentiary in Lansing, Kansas. Their inmate case files are now available on Kansas Memory.

These case files contain correspondence with the warden, prison officials, and family members, clemency requests, newspaper articles, and legal documents. Items of particular interest include last meal requests for Hickock and Smith (including shrimp and strawberries), fingerprints for Hickock and Smith, and an execution witness list for Hickock and Smith (including Truman Capote's signature).

Some materials, including those medical in nature, have been removed from public view in accordance with K.S.A. 45-221 and have been labeled with pages indicating their removal.

Also found in the files is a letter from Mack Nations, a reporter for the Wichita Eagle and Beacon, who interviewed and wrote about the two men before Truman Capote. In the letter, Nations threatens to sue Hickock should he disclose any information about the murders to another writer. Nations claims his "exclusive rights to any and all of that story forever." Nations' manuscript titled "High Road to Hell" printed in Male magazine in December 1961. Random House published Capote's "In Cold Blood" in 1966. Hickock and Smith were executed by hanging on April 14, 1965.


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