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Auction of “In Cold Blood” Investigation Records Blocked by Court
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Last week, a Kansas judge temporarily blocked the auction of certain documents of a 1959 murder case that inspired the bestseller book and blockbuster movie “In Cold Blood.” Some relatives of Harold Nye, one of the investigators of the brutal murder of a family in Kansas, had planned to auction off the documents.

However, last week, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt opposed the move and sought a temporary injunction, which was granted by a Shawnee County judge, the attorney general’s office informed on Monday. In an official statement, the Kansas Attorney General said, “The criminal investigation case materials are clearly the property of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and should not be auctioned off, particularly for personal gain.”

In 1965, a jury had convicted Dick Hickock and Perry Smith for murdering Herbert Clutter, and his family including his wife and two children. Both Hickock and Smith were executed in 1965.


Nye, who was one of the principal investigators in the case, later became the director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and acted as the chief source for Truman Capote’s book, which became a bestseller, and a movie in 1967.

The lawsuit says Nye’s son, Ronald Nye, had admitted that his father had copied the records at state offices in late 1950’s and ultimately ended up with 14 boxes of notes and records over the course of the investigation.

However, state officials say that they were not aware that the Nye family had the records until they came to learn in July this year that the family was planning to auction off the documents.

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The state does not want two personal notebooks of Nye to be released to the public, though it has made all other records available to the public long ago.


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