Wanted: Perry Smith

Murder of The Clutter family in Holcomb


Perry's family left him and he's been abused by many people throughout his childhood. His parents divorced and he lived with his mother but wanted to go to his father's, expected his father turned him away, so Perry ended up at a Catholic Orphanage. After the abuse from the nuns, is father came and got him, but the most schooling he had was the 3rd grade. His father and him traveled around the country until they about starved, where he went in search of a friend for help but ended up arrested for stealing. After he lived in New York for a bit, the Kansas Investigation caught up with him where he met Dick; by now, his mother died, brother killed himself, and one of his sisters, Fern, 'fell' out of a window, 15 stories up. In prison Dick and Perry devised a score to get money and go down to Mexico.


Big arms and chest, but small, fragile legs (Ch.1)

He has a few tattoos

He's calm and gentle

Has a thirst for knowledge

Homosexual tendencies

Previous Crimes

Stealing (ch.2)



Chronological Order

1. Perry met Dick in Kansas Penitentiary

2. Perry told Dick about killing a "nigger" to gain his respect

3. Dick initiated a plan for a score after they get out

4. Dick detailed every part of the plan

5. They drove down to Holcomb and stand a night before taking action

6. Mrs. Clutter died first

7. Then Nancy, which is was said that Perry stopped Dick from raping her

8. Then Kenyon

9. And lastly Mr. Clutter; was slit in the throat and shot in the head

10. Perry placed pillows and blankets on all the bodies before leaving

11. They skipped town and headed to Mexico

12. The day plagued Perry's mind about getting caught

13. They went to score again, no murders; succeeded

14. Arrested in Vegas for driving a stolen car

How does this background information about Perry create bias in this story?

Perry's life makes everyone sympathize in a way that they don't with Dick. He had a harsh childhood, and according to him, no one taught him right from wrong. He had no good feelings of self-worth and struggled with being the lesser man with a secret always. Maybe a life of crime was the only way he truly felt in control and on top until he got caught.

Do you think a person’s experiences as a child impacts who he or she becomes? Why or why not? How do you think Perry’s childhood affected him? Do you think his childhood played a part in his crimes?

I do believe a person's childhood experience impacts the way they end up; Perry had a horrible life and so much tragedy that its almost understandable with his lash out at the world. Dick though was nurtured too much, didn't get a stern lesson about how bad the things he was doing was. Perry's childhood definitely played a part in his crimes because he was abused and bullied where he had no control and wanted some control back.

It is a parents job to teach the children and the way they end up is on them. Being a parent isn't giving the child everything they want without working for it nor is it breaking them down to show that they are below you. The best thing a parent can do is teach them what is right and wrong, discipline only when necessary and let them start to be independent but not when they can't even think for themselves.