Graphic photos shouldn't be part of pending sale.
The novel "In Cold Blood" — Truman Capote's tale of the case surrounding the slaying of members of Holcomb's Clutter family — has fascinated people for decades.
Capote's story centers on the Nov. 15, 1959, murders of Herb Clutter, his wife, Bonnie, and children Nancy and Kenyon. Ex-convicts Perry Smith and Richard Hickock were tracked down and eventually hanged for killing the Clutters.
And now, a family member of a key investigator wants to capitalize on the case's notoriety by selling materials related to the horrific crime.
The son of Kansas Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Harold Nye has asked an auction house to sell his late father's collection of items ranging from original investigation notebooks to letters from Capote, copies of "In Cold Blood" signed by Capote, and even crime-scene photographs never before made public.
The collection is being offered for a minimum bid of $20,000.
While it's easy to see how historic documents related to such a high-profile case would have significant value, it's also unfortunate to know they will be sold. It would be better to see portions of the collection donated to a museum, university or other public entity to allow for future generations to better understand the truth about the Clutter case, as Capote often veered from the facts in his novel.
The photos included in the collection, however, are another story. Shame on Nye's son for making grisly crime-scene shots of the Clutters' lifeless bodies part of the pending sale. If someone buys the collection, they should keep the photos private.
If the photos must to be shared in any way, it should be for law enforcement purposes. Even many decades later, investigators could learn something from the heinous crime and subsequent investigation.
The interest in offering documents and books related to the Clutter case is understandable. But selling disturbing photos of four victims of a ruthless crime — with no idea of how those photos would be used — only stands to inflict more pain on relatives and friends of the Clutters.
What a sad chapter in a saga that seemingly has no end.