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Kansas agents here to grill murder suspects

Las Vegas Review-Journal
Jan. 3, 1960
Perry Smith, shown in 1960, was hanged along with Richard Hickock on April 14, 1965, after being convicted of the quadruple murder of the Herbert Clutter family in 1959.
AP FILE PHOTO |

While law officials of Garden City, Kan., appealed Saturday to the public as to the whereabouts of a portable radio missing from the home of the murdered Herbert W. Clutter family, five Kansas agents were interrogating two suspects at length in the Las Vegas jail.

Held by Las Vegas police are Perry Edward Smith, 31 and Richard Eugene Hickock, 28, both wanted for parole violation in Kansas. They are described as “the hottest suspects yet” of the Kansas mass murder of four.

Police Lt. B. J. Handlen said the pair waived extradition and will be taken back to Kansas today or Monday.

Handlen said the five special agents began quizzing Smith and Hickock at about 3 Saturday afternoon. They were still grilling the suspects late Saturday night.

In trying to locate the radio Finney County Attorney Duane West said, “Anyone having information on the whereabouts of the radio should contact the Finney County (Kan.) Sheriff’s office of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.”

The radio was described as mist gray with blue trim and a gold grille with the serial number 8102025.

“A housekeeper remembered it being in the house and it’s not there now,” KBI director Logan Sanford said.

Finney County Prosecutor West requested radio stations and newspapers to publicize a description of the tree-way 1958 Zenith radio apparently considered an important clue in the murders of Clutter, his wife, Bonnie, 45; son, Kenyon, 16, and daughter, Nancy Mae, 16, whose bodies were found in their home last Nov. 15.

The victims had been bound and gagged. They were killed with blasts fired into their heads at close range with a heavy gauge shotgun.

Some officers have theorized that the killer, or killers entered the home in the belief that Clutter, a wealthy farmer who owned 1,000 acres of rich wheat land and herds of cattle and sheep, kept large amounts money there.

However, Clutter was known as a man who paid even small bills by check and never showed substantial amounts of cash.

After the killings two empty wallets were found, but an envelope containing money that Nancy had planned to donate at church that day was still on her bedroom table when officers arrived.

The telephone in Clutter’s home office had been torn from the wall along with a telephone in the kitchen. Clutter’s body was found with that of his son in the basement. The bodies of Mrs Clutter and the girl were in their beds in upstairs rooms.

A coroner’s examination disclosed they had not been sexually molested.