Richard Hickock's To Die Or Not To Die?

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To Die or Not to Die
Should a man be punished for a crime he had involvement in, but did not technically commit? This question has been asked for decades over the Clutter Murders of 1959. Richard “Dick” Hickock was the man to convince Perry Smith to travel with him to Holcomb, Kansas to pay a visit to Herb Clutter and family. Although Hickock was the one to plan the entire visit, which included robbing and murdering the family, he never physically laid a finger on the trigger of the shotgun or knife that killed Herb Clutter and his innocent wife and children. Hickock deserved the fate of the death penalty due to his manipulation of Perry and his involvement in the crime.
Hickock had more than an intention to murder the entire Clutter family
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The question at hand is why he suddenly made the conscious decision to no longer be associated with the crime. Immediately following their capture, the two criminals were interrogated and investigated by the officers involved in the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. As soon as Hickock comes to the realization that the police have evidence to be used against the two for conviction, Hickock disowns the crime by stating how his accomplice was the man to have been the true murderer, and he simply “couldn’t stop him” (230). Hickock’s father constantly claims that after his son’s accident in 1950, Richard just “. . . didn’t act like the same boy” (293). The intent of this claim was to support that Hickock was involved in the murder due to his inability to distinguish right from wrong, but this claim was quickly dismissed after a psychological evaluation. During the trial, Hickock is described as “impulsive in action” and “alert” by Dr. Jones,the doctor who evaluated Hickock (294-5). Hickock was not mentally ill, nor had he ever experienced a life with a lack of support. His father and mother arrived to every trial, tried to repay his debts, and never left him behind. They provided support in the times he needed it most, and Hickcock claims “[he needed] help” from Dr. Jones during his evaluation (279). This displays him as a man with a lack of respect. He is not able to fully…show more content…
While on Death Row, Hickock planned to escape and leave Perry for dead. On page 263, Hickock describes how he would escape by creating a “shiv” and live in hiding “alone”. Dick did not care that he had ruined the lives of Perry, the remaining family members of the Clutter family, or the whole town of Holcomb. He created so much distrust and sadness among a whole community as they had lost the well-respected Clutter family. Hickock also was willing to fully allow Smith to be viewed as a cold-blooded killer who had no help in the murders. Hickock is humorous over the entire crime as well. On the night prior to his hanging, Hickock is told that the night must be “the longest night of [his] life” by a guard, but Hickock’s response is that it is his “shortest” (338). The night before one faces death is generally a sorrowful moment as one reflects his wrongdoings. Hickock displays no emotion or acknowledgement that he is in the wrong. Instead, he chooses to be humorous and entitled on the night of his death. Hickock further continues his selfish behavior on the day of the hanging. When Hickock reaches the top of the altar he is to be hanged on, Hickock is asked if he has any last words before death. Hickcock stated, “‘I just want to say I hold no hard feelings. You people are sending me to a better world than this ever was’” (339).
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