Are 'In Cold Blood' killers responsible for 1959 FL murder?
Police investigating possible cold case link
- Duration 6:05
- Date Dec 12, 2012
Police investigating possible cold case link
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-- a cold case gets hot again with new questions about whether the killers from a notorious murder.
Also murdered another family while on the run.
Richard Hitchcock and Perry Smith were hanged in the 1960s for the murders of a -- Kansas family.
-- grisly crimes -- captured in the pages of Truman Capote he's classic in cold blood.
The two men went to the gallows for the November 1959.
Killings of Herbert clutter his wife and their two children.
Now more than fifty years later they are being hide in a set of murders.
And nearly identical.
The killings of cliff and Christine Walker and their two young children in our spray near -- -- Florida a month after the Kansas killings.
The two men were spotted in Florida while they were on the run for the Kansas murders and eyewitnesses remember seeing them in the Sarasota all on the same day the walkers were killed.
Well now authorities want to exhume the killers bodies to see if they have a DNA match.
Here is forensic expert doctor Michael Bodden on the cold case yesterday -- happening now.
I think the concept that.
Police departments have -- -- -- -- -- brought up that old cases can still be solved with evidence from fifty years ago.
If they've saved the evidence and if they bring -- forth.
Joining us now Shannon McFarland a reporter for the Sarasota herald Tribune she is covering the story for -- paper and has broken.
Much of this new information.
So Shannon what is it that led police first of all but just to the idea the general idea that these two guys might be -- The sheriff's office has a list of nearly 600 suspects that they've compiled in the last fifty years and these guys.
We're actually suspects for the first three months of the investigation.
And dismissed after polygraph and fingerprints.
Allowed three detectives to think that it wasn't -- And Capote in his book talks about them talked about their time in Florida but this misses the possibility that they could have been responsible right.
-- act of putting has about three pages mentioning the -- writers and does the same thing that to pet detectives did earlier he mentioned that they have an alibi.
And fingerprints and polygraphs.
Leave them -- it.
-- decisively negative that there they -- the suspects so tell us some of the coincidences some of the things that police are looking at.
But Capote got wrong.
You know -- mention that they -- and that it's Miami at a hotel on Christmas Day and that's one of the things that.
Detectives checked out realize they checked in at.
Earlier than they said they did and that they didn't actually say for five days they asked for refunds the day after they got there the day the walkers were killed.
Ends hotel never staff didn't see him again.
So we're looking at a picture of the walker family Chris cliff and Christine.
Their children Jimmy and Debbie.
It's my understanding that there is DNA evidence.
Still available to prosecutors if there's DNA evidence of these potential.
Killers these suspects right.
Well it's not necessarily prosecutors because you can't prosecute that hit this suspects that the -- right I thought I should have -- -- investigated me.
Good point you have -- the the investigators.
They've saved all of this evidence and as the technology has caught up with the case.
They've come back and re tested and tested and tested again and finally found DNA evidence in 2004 they started testing suspects.
Some people that may have been higher suspects and came back to these guys.
And now they're hoping that.
Some of the that DNA evidence -- match one as he's -- so what's this thinking about the walker is what was the motive how how would these guys have connected with them.
The idea is that.
So walker family it was car shopping on the day of the murders something that they would not normally do that would take them out of there regular element.
-- That views that.
Smith and -- -- While there -- traveling the country were stealing cars or selling off parts of cars are stolen items -- regularly at car -- -- chips and gas stations.
Ends that they spotted the family talk to the family asked around about someone who is.
Looking to traitor by a car.
And they were driving sniffing hit Cochran driving the same model car that the walkers were looking and nine -- -- -- six Chevy Bel Air.
And then ends that they've followed the family homer got directions the family's home ends.
Maybe they intended to offer a deal or they got there intending to kill them.
Again they are hoping that they can exhume these guys.
And matched the DNA evidence that was left behind at the walker crime scene 21 or both of these convicted killers.
You have a sheriff's office hasn't even finished writing the exhumation order yet they're still working on it -- -- -- -- that acorda will go to Kansas.
Kansas will go through their process to approve it through judge and two eggs in these guys from the cemetery in Kansas but.
Nobody knows whether there is usable DNA evidence remaining after what.
Forty years underground for these guys more than that.
Yeah and it's I mean that that the bones themselves have DNA evidence -- I talked to some DNA analysts who said.
They regularly find DNA viable DNA in bodies that are at least -- old -- older.
And so there's there's a very good chance that it couldn't if they could get DNA from it but the other guys the chance that it won't be there or that it won't match.
Well it is a fascinating case I know you've been doing great work on it for your paper there and will continue to watch it from and man -- a link up there on our web -- so that people can continue to follow your work thanks very much.