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The life and crime of perry edward smith

Smith's father abused his wife and four children, and in 1935 his wife left him, taking the children with her to San Francisco. After Smith's mother died from choking on her own vomit when he was 13, he and his siblings were placed in a Catholic orphanagewhere nuns allegedly [6] abused him physically and emotionally for his lifelong problem of chronic bed wettinga result of malnutrition.

He was also placed in a Salvation Army orphanage, where one of the caretakers allegedly [6] tried to drown him. In his adolescence, Smith reunited with his father and together they lived an itinerant existence across much of the western United States.

Dick Hickock and Perry Smith

He also spent time in different juvenile detention homes after joining a street gang and becoming involved in petty crime. Perry's father, Tex, moved to Cold Springs, Nevadacirca 1964—1967, where he lived to the age of 92 before committing suicide, distraught over poor health. He joined the army in 1948, where he served in the Korean War. In spite of his record, Smith received an honorable discharge in 1952 and was last stationed at Fort Lewis in Washington.

With one of his first paychecks, Smith bought a motorcycle. While riding, he lost control of the bike due to adverse weather conditions. Smith nearly died in the accident and spent six months in a Bellingham hospital. Because of the severe injuries, his legs were permanently disabled [9] and he suffered chronic leg pains for the rest of his life.

To help control the pain, he consumed copious amounts of aspirin.

Perry Edward Smith

Smith was eventually paroled, and the pair later resumed their acquaintance upon Hickock's release in November 1959. Hickock allegedly wrote to Smith, imploring him to violate his parole by returning to Kansas to assist Hickock with a robbery he had been planning. Smith claimed that his return was initially motivated not by meeting with Hickock, but by the chance to reunite with another former inmate, Willie-Jay, with whom he had developed an especially close bond while in prison; Smith soon discovered, however, that he had arrived in the Kansas City area just a few hours after Willie-Jay had left for the east coast.

Smith met with Hickock, and almost immediately the two set to work carrying out Hickock's plan.

  • Wednesday on Sunflower Broadband Channel 6;
  • Charles McAtee has photos a painting of a sea scene that Smith made while in the Kansas state penitentiary at Lansing;
  • Agent Harold Nye of the KBI visited Hickock's parents in Olathe, Kansas, in whose home Hickock had briefly lived after the killings and left the shotgun used in the massacre in his room the parents had been told that he used it for rabbit hunting;
  • Because of the severe injuries, his legs were permanently disabled [9] and he suffered chronic leg pains for the rest of his life;
  • Smith was hanged second, dying at 1:

Herbert Clutter and his wife Bonnie, and their younger children, Nancy and Kenyon. When they invaded the house, however, they discovered that there was no such safe. Records show a dispute as to which of the two shot the women, Bonnie and Nancy Clutter. Alvin Dewey, chief investigator of the Clutter family murders, testified at the trial that Hickock insisted in his confession that Smith performed all four killings; Smith, however, first confessed that Hickock killed the women, but refused to sign his confession, and later claimed to have shot them himself.

Although Smith's revised confession coincided with Hickock's initial statement, both Smith and Hickock refused to testify in court, leading to a lack of an official record detailing who killed the women. While Smith had only a grade-school education, he maintained a strong interest in art, literature and music. His rough past regarding his family and abusive childhood led him to be somewhat distant from people. He read extensively, and during his time on death rowwrote poems and painted pictures for other inmates from photos of their family members.

Prison director Charles McAtee recalls killers

While Capote never wrote anything to suggest that theirs was anything more than a platonic friendship, some accounts have suggested that perhaps a more intimate association had developed. Smith was hanged second, dying at 1: Smith and Hickock had originally been questioned about the December 19, 1959 shooting murder in Osprey, Floridaof Cliff and Christine Walker and their two young childrenas evidence indicated they had spent time just a few miles from the crime scene while at large after the Clutter murders.

A polygraph administered at the time of their arrest cleared them of the murders, but by modern polygraph standards, their test results are no longer considered valid. Only partial DNA could be retrieved, possibly due to degradation of the DNA samples over the decades or contamination in storage, making the outcome one of uncertainty neither proving nor disproving the involvement of Smith and Hickock.

Investigators have stated that Smith and Hickock still remain the most viable suspects.