TOPEKA – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt last week asked a court to order the return of photographs, case file records and investigative reports related to the 1959 murders of Herb Clutter and three members of his family.
The materials, which have been in the possession of the family of a former Kansas Bureau of Investigation agent who worked on the case, have been the subject of a dispute since some of them appeared for sale on an online auction site earlier this year. Shawnee County District Judge Larry D. Hendricks entered a temporary restraining order on Thursday blocking the sale of the items while their legal ownership is determined.
The attorney general’s petition also seeks to stop any reproduction, publication, distribution or sale of the same photographs, files, and reports. It asks the Court to declare that the State of Kansas is the owner of the KBI criminal investigation files and records relating to the murders of the Clutter family and asks the court to order the return of the materials to the custody of the State.
“The crime scene and autopsy photographs and 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,” Schmidt said. “It is important for these materials to be returned to the State of Kansas for the protection of the integrity of the records and out of respect for the Clutter family.”
Schmidt said he hopes the court will move swiftly to grant the relief requested. A copy of the petition is attached.