November 16, 1959
A wealthy wheat farmer, his wife and their two young children were found shot to death today in their home. They had been killed by shotgun blasts at close range after being bound and gagged.
The father, 48-year-old Herbert W. Clutter, was found in the basement with his son, Kenyon, 15. His wife Bonnie, 45, and a daughter, Nancy, 16, were in their beds.
There were no signs of a struggle and nothing had been stolen. The telephone lines had been cut.
"This is apparently the case of a psychopathic killer," Sheriff Earl Robinson said.
Mr. Clutter was founder of The Kansas Wheat Growers Association. In 1954 President Eisenhower appointed him to the Federal Farm Credit Board, but he never lived in Washington.
This is the story that launched the career of Truman Capote. The New York Times has "A Sponsored Archieve" dedicated to Truman Capote paid for by Sony. This archive republishes a series of The New York Times articles on the life and career of Truman Capote, highlighting his famous work, In Cold Blood. It promotes the upcoming Sony Pictures film, Capote, based on Truman Capote.
Capote died in 1984, so this is ancient history to generations MTV, X, and Y. But it reminds us of a terrible crime in Kansas and of the stylish and interesting man who wrote about it.
Truman Capote, His Life & Works | A Sponsored Archieve [NY Times]