towards the end of the book
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The court’s inability or unwillingness to sustain Dr. Jones’ testimony is, on some level, a symbol that the world is not yet ready to accommodate the complexity and fundamental difference of these men within its narrow definitions of acceptable society. Dick and Perry are social misfits on multiple levels: their mental illness, their implied repressed homosexuality, and their status as ex-convicts place them outside the accepted parameters of conventional (or “normal”) living as they existed at this time in American history. They are the very definition of “other,” and the comfortable, complacent world that the Clutters represent has turned its back on them, shown no responsibility towards them. In Cold Blood is, on some level, a parable about a society coming of age, failing to cater to its more destitute ranks, and coming face-to-face with the consequences of this failure. The defence really cannot mount any argument that the jury might accept. In the closing remarks of the trial, the beleaguered defense lawyers appeal to the mercy of the jury, attempting to dissuade them from exacting the highest form of punishment. After a forty-minute deliberation, the jury finds both Dick and Perry guilty on four counts of murder in the first degree, and sentence them both to death.