DNA Test Fails With In Cold Blood Killers

Perry Smith, Richard Hickock can't be linked to Fla. killing

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 13, 2013 5:50 PM CDT

(Newser) – The killers chronicled in the book In Cold Blood may have gotten away with one—at least for now. DNA testing of Perry Smith and Richard Hickock has failed to tie them conclusively to the murder of the Walker family in Sarasota, Fla., the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports. A detective had the two bodies exhumed for testing, but only partial DNA profiles were taken, and DNA from the victims' home may have degraded from years of storage, the Sarasota Sheriff's Office said.

"The complication lies in the fact that there's still some uncertainty," Capt. Jeff Bell told the AP. "It wouldn't exclude them but it also does not provide us with any level of confidence to say there's a match because there's not." In 1959 Smith and Hickock killed the Clutters, a Kansas farm family, and were drifting around Florida at the time the Walkers were murdered in Sarasota. Circumstantial and eyewitness evidence linked Smith and Hickock to the Walker killing, but hard evidence remains elusive. (See more on the case.)

This combo made from file photos shows Richard Hickock, left, and Perry Smith, the two men hanged for the Nov. 15, 1959 murders of Herb and Bonnie Clutter and their children in Holcomb, Kan.   (AP Photos/File)
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