Herb’s wife and mother to Nancy and Kenyon, Bonnie is a slight, nervous, apologetic woman who suffers from chronic postpartum depression, which leaves her bedridden on many days.
Although he originally resists even the idea of the robbery, the charged atmosphere of the Clutter home prompts him to a frenzy of frustration and resentment, and the Clutters become the unfortunate targets of his fury.
Prior to this revelation, however, we learn that he is sensitive, thoughtful, creative, and highly intelligent.
Dewey is the lead investigator on the Clutter case, and, as a former friend of Herb and Bonnie, he develops an obsessive interest in tracking down the perpetrators, sacrificing his physical and mental health for the six weeks they are at large.
He lives in Garden City with his wife and two sons, and through Dewey we experience the many of the mixed emotions circulating in the town pertaining to the search, arrest, and trial of the two killers.
According to Perry, Dick is a “real masculine type,” a charismatic and commanding individual whom Perry feels compelled to “stick by,” in spite of his disapproval of some of Dick’s behaviors.
By the end of the book, however, we become aware of some of Dick’s own insecurities: his failure to achieve financial security and support his first wife, Carol, and their three children, and his sexual interest in young girls, both of which he compensates for with bravado and reckless criminal actions.
A friend from Perry’s army days who testifies as a “character witness” for Perry.
While in Garden City, Don dines with Perry and attempts to comfort him by telling him about God’s love and mercy (Perry is unconvinced).
Susan (or “Sue”) Kidwell is Nancy’s closest friend and confidante, and is one of two girls to discover the murders on the morning of November 15th.
Throughout the novel, she reflects fondly on her friendship with Nancy and her childhood memories at the Clutters’, becoming a symbol of graceful and forgiving resilience in the wake of unspeakable tragedy.
Her depression has gradually isolated her from many of her close friends, and she spends her last afternoon locked away in her room, regretting her inability to socialize or be a stronger mother to her children.