Reader: Hruby killings similar to 1958 Kansas slayings (OK)

The Oct. 9 slayings of three members of the Hruby family in Duncan jogged one reader’s memory.

The woman recalled the case of a Kansas college sophomore who gunned down his parents and sister on Thanksgiving Day in 1958 near Wolcott, Kansas.

“Have you noticed the similarities between this case and the 1958 murders in Kansas?’ she wrote. “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 about the murders and heard that a son was not home.”

Yes, reader, I do think it would be interesting. Thanks for the note — let’s see what we can find in The Daily Oklahoman archives.

Before I begin, here’s a refresher on the Hruby case:

Authorities say Alan Hruby, a 19-year-old freshman at the University of Oklahoma, confessed to shooting his parents and sister in Duncan and that his motive was to become sole heir to the family money. Killed were John Hruby, 50, whose family has run newspapers for three generations in southwest Oklahoma; Tinker Hruby, 48, known for her kindness to others in need ; and their 17-year-old daughter Katherine, a studious high school volleyball player.

Fifty six years before the Hruby’s long-time housekeeper discovered the bodies in the kitchen of their comfortable home, The Daily Oklahoman’s front page carried the headline “Student wanting money slays parents, OBU coed.”

Greed motivated killer Lowell Lee Andrews. Decades later, Alan Hruby told investigators after the killings that he wanted money.

The motive is as old as time.

It was a frigid evening on Thanksgiving in 1958 when a husky, bespectacled Lowell Lee Andrews, 18, put down a book he had been reading in his bedroom. He walked downstairs and killed his parents and sister with a .22, rifle and a German Luger while the family members watched TV. Andrews opened a window, removed its screen and ransacked the home to make the carnage inside the rural farm home look like a burglary. Next, he traveled from the rural farm home near Wolcott to his boarding house in Lawrence, Kansas, ditching his guns in a river along the way. At the boarding house, he struck up a conversation with the landlady to create an alibi, telling her he was there to retrieve a typewriter for a homework assignment. Andrews then went to the movies. He drove home to Wolcott and called the police.

Officers arrived and found the youth sitting on a porch petting the family’s Pekingese dog. His robbery story fell apart after he confessed his role in the slayings to his family’s minister.

On Dec. 22, 1959, Andrews was convicted and sentenced to death for the murders.

Scanning the details of both cases reveals several similarities.

Like Andrews, authorities say Hruby confessed to killing his parents and sister for money, authorities said.

“Alan Hruby stated that the reason that he killed his family was that he had been cut off financially…due to an abundance of spending in recent times,” Duncan police Detective John Byers reported in a court affidavit.

Andrews told detectives he wanted the farm and his parents’ money.

“It wasn’t a case where they wouldn’t give me what I want,” the 6-foot-2, 260-pound bassoon player told detectives, according a news account from that time. “It was a case where they couldn’t. I wanted a sports car and I wanted a million dollars, too.”

Police say Alan Hruby admitted to first stealing his father’s Walther PPS 9 mm pistol during the first of two secret trips he made to the family home between Oct. 8 and Oct. 9. During the second trip Oct. 9, Hruby is alleged to have gunned down his family members in the kitchen of their home. Tinker Hruby had been texting with a friend in the kitchen when the conversation abruptly stopped around 5 p.m., the time police believed she was shot twice in the head, according to authorities. Katherine Hruby had been washing her vehicle outside when she came into the kitchen and was shot once in the neck. When John Hruby arrived home, he was shot twice in the head.

Andrews, a bookish University of Kansas zoology student, attacked his family as they sat together watching television. Andrews fired 24 shots, 18 from a rifle and six from a pistol. Killed were William Andrews, 50; Opal Andrews, 41, and Jennie Marie Andrews, 20, a junior at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, who was home for the Thanksgiving holiday. Like Hruby, Andrews shot his father and mother multiple times.

After the killings, Alan Hruby didn’t head to the movies like Andrews. He partied with friends at The Ritz-Carlton in Dallas.

The OU freshman also didn’t chat with a landlady at a boarding house, but he did send out social media postings from his dorm room in Norman, possibly scheduled in advance, as if to create a digital alibi, authorities said.

Of course, Twitter and Instagram didn’t exist in 1958.

Much like in the Andrews case, authorities say Hruby’s alibi and story crumbled fast and he confessed.

Authorities said they were suspicious when Hruby asked no questions when told by police of the deaths of his family members. He wailed, but there were no tears, according to the Duncan police chief. A friend of Hruby’s who was with him in Dallas told media outlets that Hruby showed no sign of remorse nor gave any hint about the events that allegedly had unfolded just before the trip.

Lawmen became suspicious of Andrews for his nonchalant, unemotional behavior after officers discovered the bullet-punctured bodies of his family members.

A sheriff’s deputy told The Daily Oklahoman, “He was the most unconcerned slayer I ever met.”

Hruby is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and today sits in the Stephens County Jail.

Like Lowell, if convicted, Hrubv could face the death penalty, though the method would be lethal injection rather than hanging.

In Duncan, where Katherine Hruby was a beloved member of the high school volleyball team, her friends continue to play matches in her honor, posting pictures and memories of the teenager on Facebook and Twitter.

Fifty-six years ago in Kansas and Shawnee, Okla., where Jennie Andrews studied home economics at OBU, neighbors, teachers and friends struggled with the same breed of confusion and heartache.

The department chair told The Daily Oklahoman she had chatted with Jennie Andrews just before the “coed” left for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“She was very excited about going home and anxious to see her family. She spoke often of her brother and was very proud of him.”

How could a quiet, unassuming boy from a good family do such a thing?

“I was with the boy all night and I still can’t believe it,” Rev. V.C. Dameron, the minister and family friend to whom Andrews confessed, told The Daily Oklahoman. “What do you think when your best friend is killed by his own son?…They were a perfect family.”

Lowell Lee Andrews carried on a complicated legal battle to escape the noose, but was ultimately ordered to be hanged in the early hours of Nov. 30, 1962.

His final comforts included fried chicken, french fries with ketchup, a head of lettuce cut into hunks, a soft drink, vanilla ice cream with strawberries and cigars.

He gave no last words.

Attribution:

Reader: Hruby killings similar to 1958 Kansas slayings
Juliana Keeping
October 30, 2014
NewsOK.com
http://newsok.com/why-did-a-college-student-kill-his-family-in-1958-the-answer-is-as-old-as-time./article/5361832?custom_click=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+newsok%2Fhome+%28NewsOK.com+RSS+-+Home%29

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