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The Clutter Family Murder

By Jason Handron, Shannon O'Brien, and Katie Mead

on 26 March 2013

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Transcript of The Clutter Family Murder

Dick and Perry's Entry Dick Hickock and Perry Smith enter the house through the side door, leading to Mr. Clutter's office (the room with the supposed safe). Perry steals a pair of binoculars which he later pawns in Mexico. The safe was supposed to be in the wall directly behind the desk. Dick and Perry proceed to Mr. Herbert Clutter's bedroom, where Dick wakes the wealthy farmer up. The two criminals bring him back to the office and demand to know the whereabouts of the safe. Perry enters the kitchen and cuts the phone wires with a pair of pliers, after having done the same to the office phone. Upon inspecting the house after the murders, the detectives find what they presume to be Nancy Clutter's purse on the floor. Perry then hears footsteps, and sees a shadowy figure at the top of the stairs. After leaving the office, Dick takes Mr. Clutter back to his bedroom, and steals the money in his wallet (about $30). Mr. Clutter leads Dick and Perry to Bonnie Clutter's bedroom. Dick riffles through Mrs. Clutter's purse and finds "some change and a dollar or two." (page 239) Dick and Perry then lead Mrs. Clutter to the bathroom, where they tie her up. Perry brings her a chair to sit on. Immediately after they lock her brother in the bathroom, Dick and Perry discover Nancy Clutter coming out of her room, dressed in socks, slippers, and a kimono, with her hair wrapped in a bandanna. (page 240)

She asks if this is some kind of joke, and Dick shoves her into the bathroom.

While Dick guards the bathroom, Perry "frisked the girl's room" (240) and finds a small purse with a silver dollar in it. He drops the coin, and crawls on his stomach to retrieve it. Dick and Perry then proceed to Kenyon Clutter's room, where the fifteen-year-old is already awake. He is "lying there like he was too scared to move." (page 239)

Dick tells Kenyon to get up, and then punches him and pulls him out of bed. Perry tells Dick that he does not need to be so harsh, and tells Kenyon to put pants on because he is only wearing a t-shirt.

The criminals lock Kenyon in the bathroom next. Perry returns to Kenyon's room to search it, and he finds no money, but he does take a portable radio. He then remembers the binoculars in Mr. Clutter's office, and he goes downstairs to get them.

He carries these items, which he later pawns in Mexico, out to the car. When he comes back inside, he goes upstairs. Dick and Perry then start to tie up the Clutters. First, they call Mr. Clutter out of the bathroom, and Perry ties his hands together. Perry leads him down to the basement, armed with the hunting knife. Dick stays upstairs to keep the others quiet.

Perry turns on the basement lights (he does not bring the flashlight with him). The basement is divided into two sections: a playroom and a furnace room. Perry takes Mr. Clutter to the furnace room.

There is a large cardboard mattress box leaning against the wall. Perry drags the box over, flattens it out on the floor, and commands Mr. Clutter to lie down.

Perry ties Mr. Clutter's feet, "then tied his hands to his feet." (page 241) Next, Perry brings Kenyon down to the basement. "First [Perry] put him in the room with his dad. Tied his hands to an overhead steampipe." (page 241) Then Perry decides this is not a good idea because one of the victims could free himself and then untie the other.

Perry cuts him down and takes him to the playroom, where there is a couch. He "roped his feet to the foot of the couch, roped his hands, then carried the rope up and made a loop around his neck, so if he struggled he'd choke himself." (page 241-242)

Once, Perry puts his knife down on a freshly varnished cedar hope chest, and Kenyon asks him not to put his knife there. The boy explains that it is a wedding present that he has built for his sister, Beverly.

As Perry is leaving, Kenyon "had a coughing fit, so [Perry] stuffed a pillow under his head." (page 242) Then he turns off the lights. Perry returns upstairs, and takes Mrs. Clutter back to her bedroom to tie her up. He ties her the same way as Kenyon, in a half hitch knot that leads from the foot of her bed to her feet, and from her feet to her hands.

She begs him not to let Dick hurt anyone. Dick has already taken Nancy back to her room, where "she was in the bed, and he was sitting on the edge of it talking to her." (page 242)

Perry stops this, and he tells Dick to search for the safe while Perry ties Nancy up. Perry "roped her feet together and tied her hands behind her back. Then [he] pulled up the covers, tucked her in till just her head showed." (242)

There is an easy chair near the bed, and Perry sits down to rest. He asks Nancy questions about her life while Dick taps the walls throughout the house looking for the safe.

Dick and Perry meet up again, and Dick tells Perry that he found a purse, later presumed to belong to Nancy, in the kitchen with seven dollars in it. Dick and Perry then begin taping the Clutters' mouths, starting with Mrs. Clutter. They "cut the tape into long strips, and Dick wrapped them around Mrs. Clutter's head like you'd wrap a mummy." (page 243) They turn off the bedside lamp and leave the room.

As the two walk down the hall to Nancy's room, Dick reveals his plan to rape Nancy, which Perry instantly vetoes. They do not tape Nancy's mouth.

They "switched off the hall light and went down to the basement." (page 243) At this point, the entire house is dark, and according to Perry, they never turn the lights on again. They only use the flashlight. Dick carries the flashlight when they go to tape Mr. Clutter and his son.

Before they tape Mr. Clutter's mouth, he asks if his wife is okay. These are his last words.

Dick and Perry go off in a corner to discuss whether or not they should kill the Clutters. Perry pretends he is going to cut Mr. Clutter's throat, hoping that Dick will realize that it is a bad idea and stop him. However, Dick does not protest, and Perry ends up cutting the farmer's throat.

Perry claims not to realize what he has done until he hears Mr. Clutter's gasps for air. Perry hands the knife to Dick and instructs him to "'Finish him.'" "Dick tried--or pretended to. But the man had the strength of ten men-- he was half out of his ropes, his hands were free. Dick panicked." (page 244)

Perry knows that Mr. Clutter would die anyway, and he does not want to leave him like that. He "told Dick to hold the flashlight, focus it." Then Perry aims the gun, and "the room just exploded." (244) Dick hunts for the discharged shell.

Footprints are later found in Mr. Clutter's blood on the floor. One has a diamond pattern, and the other creates a cat's paw print. The detectives later find these boots because Perry shipped them to himself in Las Vegas. Dick and Perry then return to the playroom, where they shoot Kenyon in the face. Dick again retrieves the used cartridge. The murderers next go to Nancy's room, where the sixteen-year-old pleads with them not to kill her. She begs, "'Oh no! Oh, please. No! No! No! No! Don't! Oh, please don't! Please!'" (page 245)

In Perry's version of events, he "gave the gun to Dick. [Perry] told him [he'd] done all [he] could do." (245) Dick takes aim, and Nancy turns her face toward the wall.

According to Dick, Perry kills all four members of the Clutter family. Bonnie Clutter is the final victim. Dick has difficulty locating the last shell; he "wiggled under the bed to get it." (page 245)

Then they close Mrs. Clutter's door and go downstairs to the office. After murdering the entire Clutter family, the assassins return to the office and wait there. They "looked through the blinds to see if the hired man was poking around, or anybody else who might have heard the gunfire." (page 245)

No one is around, so Dick and Perry run out to the car and drive away.
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