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In Cold Blood: Criminal Justice System

AP Language Nonfiction Project
by

Ronnae Mailig

on 19 April 2013

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Transcript of In Cold Blood: Criminal Justice System

Truman Capote's In Cold Blood gives a comprehensive account of the unscrupulous murder of a prosperous Kansan farmer, Herbert Clutter, and his family. Starting from the murderer itself and family's background, leading up to the capture and punishment of the murderers, Richard (Dick) Hickock and Perry Smith, In Cold Blood presents an in-depth account of all the aspects that make up a murder. The Chase The Capture After killing the Clutter family, Dick and Perry made their way home as if nothing ever happened.
By the time Wells told the authorities about Dick and Perry, the criminals were already on their way to Mexico. Hot on their new lead, the KBI agents found their way into the suspects' families and interviewed them. Quick Get away After letting things cool down, the two suspects return from Mexico. With almost nothing in their possession, the two hiked across the West looking for jobs and opportunity.

Trying so hard to keep the Wells confession in the dark, the KBI tried to track down the two suspects but with no success. However, they managed to learn about the suspects' background but seemed to find no motive. Back in the U.S. Dick and Perry managed to make it to Iowa where they took shelter in a barn. While they were there, they were able to steal a 1956 Chevy. Knowing that they could write some Illegal checks to get supplies, the suspects decided to go back to Kansas.

Hearing that Dick and Perry were writing Illegal checks around the area, the KBI agents scrambled to capture them. Sadly, the suspects got away. Going Back to Kansas Running out of money, the suspects decided to head West to get jobs.
On December 30, the suspects were caught by the police in Las Vegas for the stolen car. The KBI agents drove to Las Vegas and questioned the suspects.
The suspects thought that they were being questioned for the checks, but it was for the murder. Under pressure, Dick finally breaks and confesses to the murder. Both Perry and Dick were taken to Kansas for their trial. On the way there, Perry gave his version of the confession. In Cold Blood: Criminal Justice System The Perfect Murder This murder case was particularly intriguing because the murderers left almost no trace and it took a tremendous time-consuming effort for the authorities to solve the mystery. The murderers took every precaution to leave no trace, no fingerprints, no shotgun shells, and no witnesses and ended up almost almost succeeding. The not-so Perfect Murder Although Dick and Perry said "no witnesses," they forgot to tie one loose end. Floyd Wells, Dick's cellmate and Mr. Clutter's former employee, told the authorities that he told his former cellmate, Dick, about the Clutters.
Hearing about Wells' confession, The Kansas Bureau of Investigation started to investigate further now that they had someone to look for.
Another key piece of evidence was captured by a crime scene photographe who caught two boot-prints, which later correlated with Dick and Perry's boots. The Trial After Dick and Perry were captured, a trial had to take place to prove or disprove their innocence.

The Judge of the trial, Roland H. Tate provided Dick and Perry with lawyers because they couldn't afford any. Their Lawyers were Harrison Smith and Arthur Flemming.

The start of the trial wasn't looking very good for Dick and Perry since they had already confessed many of the details already. The Penalty The trial ended with Perry and Dick being convicted of murder.

The Judge sentenced Perry and Dick to death.

They were held in their own private cells until it was time for them to be hanged. Penal system Truman uses this novel to implicitly comment on the crime justice system in the United States. The main issues he comments on are:
an outlook on how authorities track down criminals
the ineffectiveness of the penal system to reform criminals
his stand against corporal punishment
his account of the humane side of a murderer
The majority of the text follows the K.B.I.'s (Kansas Bureau of Investigation) attempt at solving the murder and tracking down the murderers. From the actual investigation of the crime scene to the wild goose chase, the tracking down of the criminals proved to be a formidable task for the authorities.

In Cold Blood gives the reader a good idea about the system to track down criminals
1.) Inspecting the crime scene
2.) Analyzing evidence
3.) Intense interrogations
4.) Patience and persistence Catching Criminals Faulty Incarceration System Capote used his novel to indirectly criticize the penal system in our society.
The fact that Perry Smith, Dick Hickock, and multiple other criminals mentioned went in and out of jail so easily shows the reader how the status quo of the prison system does nothing to help reform criminals and improve society as a whole.
In addition, Perry and Dick have committed many other crimes such as stealing, using fake checks, and breaking out of prison.
This illustrates just how the Incarceration system is faulty by showing how going to prison hasn't reformed the inmates, Perry and Dick. Capital Punishment Capital Punishment has been part of just about every society since the earliest of times as a form of reforming delinquents and making justice. Capote uses his novel to express his views corporal punishment- death penalty in particular. He makes it clear that the death penalty doesn't do anyone justice, instead it breaks down society's morals and depreciates the value of life. Capote includes Dick's thoughts towards the death penalty: "They’re mad ‘cause they’re not getting what they want – revenge” ( Capote 335). A person associated with hatred putting down humanity for wanting revenge makes people seem almost evil. Throughout the novel, Capote places an unusually strong focus on the murderers: their lives, thoughts, and personalities.
He spends great effort in making them seem innocent and later on justifying their unjust action through the unjust life they had to cope with. For example, Capote mentions Detective Dewy feeling "a measure of sympathy—for Perry Smith’s life had been no bed of roses but pitiful, an ugly and lonely progress toward one mirage or another” (Capote 246).
Even when Dick and Perry are found guilty and convicted, the author keeps fighting to prove they were given an unjust trial, with an unjust jury, defended by unjust and incompetent attorneys.
In the end, Capote argues that Dick never actually killed anyone and that Perry "was under a mental eclipse, deep inside a schizophrenic darkness” (Capote 302), which meant he couldn't judge right from wrong, so they didn't deserve such a harsh sentence. A New Perspective on Murderers Truman Capote uses his novel In Cold Blood to recount in detail the murder of a prosperous Kansas family, the capture of the murderers, and their punishment. Throughout the novel, Capote primarily focused on the legal proceedings that arise from a murder, but he also focused a lot on murderers and criminals by explaining what makes them tick, how they think, and reminds us that they are still humans. This brings us to Capote's other point: the current penal system isn't sufficient at reforming criminals, and rather than helping society out, it brings out the worst of us. Conclusion By: Ronnae Mailig, Prit Patel, Erik Guillen,
Antonio Otero, and Rosa Padilla Frodo Lives New Title A Murder Without a Motive This murder case was considered an extreme oddity because of the lack of motive specially when considering the setting and the actual victims.
Setting: The murder took place in Holcomb, Kansas, a small tightly-knit community, which "stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call ‘out there’" (Capote 3).
Victims: the Clutter family was characterized by nearly everyone, including Dick and Perry, as a respectable, peaceful, giving family. When giving his confession, Perry admits, "I thought that Mr. Clutter was a very nice gentleman. I thought so right up to the moment that I cut his throat.”
Also, the murderers took nothing but a radio, binoculars, and a few dollars in cash(Mr. Clutter never kept cash around him). This astonishes K.B.I. agent Dewey because "Nobody would kill four people for fifty bucks" (Capote 100).
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