'In Cold Blood' killers suspects in Fla.

Dec. 5, 2012 at 3:35 PM
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SARASOTA, Fla., Dec. 5 (UPI) -- DNA from the killers whose Kansas crime was detailed in Truman Capote's classic "In Cold Blood" could solve a Florida killing, a detective says.

Cliff and Christine Walker, and their children Jimmie and Debbie, were found shot to death in their home in Osprey, Fla., on Dec. 19, 1959. That was a month after Herb Clutter, his wife Bonnie, and their teenage children Nancy and Kenyon were killed in their farmhouse in Holcomb, Kan.

Deputies in Sarasota County, Fla., have asked a judge in Kansas to allow the exhumation of the two men convicted of killing the Clutters, Perry Smith and Richard Hickock, ABC News reported Monday. They were hanged on April 14, 1965, in Kansas.

Smith and Hickock were in Florida at the time of the Walker killings and briefly became suspects after they were arrested in Las Vegas. They never admitted the killings and passed lie detector tests.

Kim McGrath, the detective now assigned to the Walker killings, told ABC News a number of facts "jumped out" when she reviewed the cold case and read Capote's book. She said Hickock and Smith were seen in the Sarasota area at the time and one of them was described as having a "scratched up face" after the Walkers' bodies were found.

McGrath said two dark hairs were found at the crime scene and one of the killers raped Christine Walker, leaving semen in her underwear. She hopes scientists can find DNA in the killers' remains.

"It depends on all kind of circumstances," she said. "The soil conditions, the weather, what type of casket it is in. We will have no idea until we get out there."

Smith and Hickock's Kansas crime has been depicted in three movies, a television miniseries and an opera.

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