“I think it’s a hell of a thing that a life has to be taken in this manner. I think capital punishment is legally and morally wrong.”
— Perry Edward Smith, convicted of murder, hanging, Kansas.
Executed April 14, 1965
The product of a broken home, Smith spent most of his life in and out of detention homes and prisons. In November 1959, he and Richard Hickcock broke into the home of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas. Their purpose was to rob the family, whom they had heard possessed a safe containing ten thousand dollars. The pair found no such safe and murdered of all four members of the family.
In his book “In Cold Blood,” Truman Capote records Perry’s last words as the above plus “Maybe I had something to contribute—It would be meaningless to apologize for what I did. Even inappropriate. But I do. I apologize.”