Not in Cold Blood
In the book, "In Cold Blood", by Truman Capote, Dick Hickock and Perry Smith commit a heinous crime by slaughtering the Clutter family. Should Dick and Perry die for their crimes by receiving the death penalty? Throughout the book there is clear evidence that supports both sides. Would this case adhere to the M'Naghten rule or were both defendants aware of what crime they were committing? After close analysis of both defendants I do not believe either one deserves capital punishment.
Before looking into the case one must take a look at the two defendants. Along with Perry, Richard (Dick) Eugene Hickock was one of the two murderers of the Clutter family. Dick grew up in Kansas, was married twice, and was jailed for passing bad checks. He is a practical man who excludes confidence and cruelty, but in reality he is not a ruthless or as brave as he seems.
Along with Dick, Perry Edward Smith was the other of the two murders of the Clutter family. His legs were badly injured in a motorcycle accident. He wants very much to be educated, and he considers himself quite intelligent and artistic. His childhood was lonely and disorganized. His criminal record seems to be an extension of the strange environment he grew up in.
Perry and Dick do not deserve the death penalty. The defendants of this case adhere to the M'Naghten rule. This means "that if the accused knew the nature of his act, and knew it was wrong, then he is mentally competent and responsible for his actions" (Capote, 267). Perry as well as Dick were not mentally competent and responsible for their actions. First of all, Perry is mentally crazy and so his actions do not merit death. The only witness for the...