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The Clutter Family Home
Credit: Michael Seery - IG: @We_Love_Horror_Podcast
The Clutter home and property c. 1960 -
Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images
Herb Clutter, 48, his wife, Bonnie, 45, son Kenyon, 15, and daughter, Nancy, 16
Truman Capote at the Clutter House
Credit: Jack Garofalo/Paris Match via Getty Images
Truman Capote in the living room of the Clutter Home
Richard Eugene “Dick” Hickock and Perry Edward Smith
Credit: Richard Avedon
The long drive leading up to the Clutter home
Killer(s): Perry Edward Smith, Richard Hickock,
Victim(s): Herbert Clutter, Bonnie Clutter, Nancy Clutter, Kenyon Clutter,
Written by: Jewls Krueger
Just after midnight on the morning of November 15, 1959, ex-convicts Perry Edward Smith and Richard Hickock broke into the Clutter family home in Holcomb, Kansas while the family slept. The patriarch of the Clutter family, Herbert Clutter, was a prominent farmer in Holcomb and was thought to have a large sum of money in a safe by Smith and Hickock.
After entering the home, Smith and Hickock were unable to find the safe on their own and awoke the sleeping family members. The pair took Herbert Clutter into the basement where they attempted to get information about the location of the safe and other family valuables, but they soon discovered that there was no safe at all. Herbert Clutter had preferred to do the majority of his business by check and had only a small amount of cash, about $50, in the home at the time. Enraged by their plan not working, Smith slit Herbert's throat and shot him in the back of the head with a shotgun.
After killing Herbert, the pair then killed the remaining Clutter family members as to not leave any witnesses. Bonnie Clutter was killed in the master bedroom, Nancy Clutter was killed in her bed, and Kenyon Clutter was killed on the couch in the living room. The families bodies were discovered the next day by family friend Nancy Ewalt. The city coroner described the home as one of the most disturbing of his entire career.
Smith and Hickock left the Clutter home with a few small items and the $50 in cash that Herbert Clutter had. Their plan to get a large sum of money and escape to Mexico had failed and they had little to show for it. They were arrested 6 weeks after the murder in Las Vegas, NV and convicted of first degree murder. Both Smith and Hickock were sentenced to death and hanged on the same day - April 14, 1965.
Shortly after the murders, author Truman Capote began researching the case with his friend and fellow author, Harper Lee. His non-fiction account of the murders, "In True Blood", remains one of the best selling true crime books ever written and was made into a movie, parts of which were filmed on location at the Clutter home.
In the early 1990s, the then owners of the home began giving tours of the home to the curious for $5. They also turned it into a bed and breakfast where morbid tourists could stay overnight. This was stopped after a few years due to zoning issues and complaints by people connected to the Clutter family. The home is now privately owned and no longer available for the public to tour.
Holcomb is located about 4 hours west of Wichita in a very rural area of Kansas. The Clutter home is on the east side of town, and sits at the end of a long, private drive. The home is surrounded by acres of farmlands and can't be seen from the public road. The home is private property - be respectful of neighbors and current residents, obey all signs, and stay on public roads and walkways at all times.
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