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Lowell Lee Andrews
Lowell Lee Andrews.jpg
Andrews after arrest
Born 1939-1940
Wolcott, Kansas
Died November 30, 1962(1962-11-30) (age 22)
Lansing, Kansas
Occupation Student
Criminal penalty
Death by hanging
Criminal status Executed
Parents William L. and Opal Andrews
Conviction(s) 3 counts murder

Lowell Lee Andrews (1939 or 1940 – November 30, 1962) was a University of Kansas sophomore convicted of the murders of his parents and his sister on November 28, 1958; a crime for which he was later executed.


Andrews, a zoology major who played bassoon in the college band, was described by his hometown newspaper as "The Nicest Boy in Wolcott".[1] In reality, the 18-year-old entertained fantasies of poisoning his family and moving to Chicago, Illinois to become a gangster and professional hitman.

Andrews and his sister, Jennie Marie, were both home for the Thanksgiving holiday in 1958. Jennie Marie was watching television with her parents while Andrews was upstairs reading The Brothers Karamazov. When he finished reading the novel, Andrews shaved, put on a suit, and went downstairs carrying a .22 caliber rifle and a revolver. Walking into the room where his parents and sister were, Andrews turned on a light and opened fire with his rifle. He shot his sister, Jennie Marie, 20, between the eyes, killing her instantly. He then turned the gun on his parents, shooting his father, William, 50, twice and mother, Opal, 41, three times. His mother moved towards him and he shot her another three times. His father attempted to crawl to the kitchen and was shot repeatedly with the revolver. Andrews fired a total of 17 shots into his father.

After opening a window in an attempt to make the crime look like a burglary, Andrews left the house and drove to the nearby town of Lawrence. He drove to his apartment to establish an alibi, claiming that he had needed to pick up his typewriter to write an essay and then went to the Granada movie theater, where he watched Mardi Gras (1958), starring Pat Boone.[1] When the film ended, he drove to the Kansas River, dismantled the weapons and threw them off the Massachusetts Street Bridge.[1] He returned home and called the police to inform them of a robbery at his parents' house.[1]

When police arrived, they noticed that Andrews seemed unconcerned over the massacre of his family. He protested his innocence until the family's minister, Pastor Virto C. Dameron of Grandview Baptist Church in Kansas City, Kansas, was able to persuade him to confess.[2][3]

Conviction and execution[edit]

Andrews pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity but was convicted and sentenced to death. His request for clemency from Kansas Governor John Anderson, Jr. was denied.[4] Despite further appeals, the U.S. Supreme Court let the conviction stand and the State of Kansas executed Andrews by hanging on November 30, 1962 at the age of 22. He gave no last words.[5]

Andrews was on death row at the Lansing Correctional Facility at the same time as Richard Hickock and Perry Smith, murderers of the Clutter family and the subjects of Truman Capote's 1965 book In Cold Blood. Several pages in Capote's book concern Andrews, who was portrayed by C. Ernst Harth in the film Capote[6] and Ray Gestaut in the film Infamous the following year.[7] He was portrayed by Bowman Upchurch in the original film of In Cold Blood.


  1. ^ a b c d Belt, Mike (2005-11-28). "A crime for all time". Lawrence Journal-World. Retrieved 2008-12-08. 
  2. ^ http://murderpedia.org/male.A/a/andrews-lowell-lee.htm
  3. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=dRkzaee6Fv0C&pg=PA391&lpg=PA391&dq=Reverend+V.+C.+Dameron+and+In+Cold+Blood&source=bl&ots=yuiuFo4Nwq&sig=nFKivbcMIuHpmfjmgIP6GD1CX4g&hl=en&sa=X&ei=3ZnIUNPABbS30AHks4HYCA&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=Reverend%20V.%20C.%20Dameron%20and%20In%20Cold%20Blood&f=false
  4. ^ McCoy, Alvin S. (March 6, 1961). "'No' To Andrews Bid". The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, MO). Retrieved October 5, 2014 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read
  5. ^ "Andrews Casual To The End". The Iola Register (Iola, KS). AP. November 30, 1962. Retrieved October 5, 2014 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read
  6. ^ "Actor portrays KU student in Capote". Lawrence Journal-World. 2005-12-07. Retrieved 2008-12-08. 
  7. ^ Infamous at the Internet Movie Database

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lowell_Lee_Andrews — Please support Wikipedia.
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6 news items

Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:10:55 -0700

Lowell Lee Andrews, a student at KU or KSU, murdered his father, mother, and sister for the inheritance during the Thanksgiving holidays. Do you think it would make an interesting story to show the similarities? I thought of it as soon as I heard ...

Tulsa World

Tulsa World
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 07:28:39 -0700

Lowell Lee Andrews, a student at KU or KSU, murdered his father, mother, and sister for the inheritance during the Thanksgiving holidays. Do you think it would make an interesting story to show the similarities? I thought of it as soon as I heard ...

Slate Magazine (blog)

Slate Magazine (blog)
Wed, 25 Sep 2013 15:11:36 -0700

Anyone familiar with Truman Capote's In Cold Blood will remember Perry Smith and Dick Hickock's prison acquaintance Lowell Lee Andrews, who shot and killed his parents and sister in 1958. Andrews—dubbed “the nicest boy in Wolcott,” Kan., by a ...
Ghost Theory
Fri, 23 Sep 2011 12:03:37 -0700

Since Texas is in the news today for eliminating the traditional “special meal”, I thought it might be the perfect time to address some of our more primitive inclinations. While I applaud Texas I do wonder how much time Sen. Whitmire spent on getting ...
Huffington Post
Tue, 04 Dec 2012 10:56:59 -0800

The infamous killers hanged for the murders of a Kansas family may have also been responsible for the deaths of another family in Florida. The Herald Tribune reports investigators are probing the possibility that the killers, who were the inspiration ...
Reluctant Habits
Sun, 05 Aug 2012 07:48:56 -0700

In 1962, Lowell Lee Andrews, “the nicest boy in Wolcott,” killed his family. (And why is it that “nice,” more than “kind” or “respectful,” is the default modifier when the next door neighbor is revealed to be a serial killer?) “God damn it, you've got ...

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