Lowell Lee Andrews

5/28/2009

Lowell Lee Andrews was described as "the nicest boy in Wolcott", but on November 30, 1962 he would become one of the last inmates to be executed in the state of Kansas.

Andrews was an 18-year-old Zoology major at Kansas University. He played the bassoon in the university band. He was shy and unassuming, wore horn-rimmed glasses and weighed a little over 260 pounds.

On November 28, 1958, Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Andrews was at home with his parents, William and Opal, and his sister, Jennie Marie. His parents and sister were watching television in the living room. Lowell Lee was upstairs in his bedroom reading the last chapter of The Brothers Karamazov. When he finished reading the book, Lowell went in to the bathroom to shave, returned to his room, put on his best suit and then loaded both a semi-automatic .22-caliber rifle and a Ruger .22-caliber revolver. He holstered the revolver and carried the rifle to the darkened living room where his parents and sister were sitting illuminated only by the light coming from the television screen. He turned on a light and opened fire with his rifle. His first shot caught his sister Jennie right between the eyes, killing her instantly. He shot his mother three times and his father twice. His mother moved towards him trying to speak. Lowell calmly told her to shut up and shot her three more times. His father, still alive, attempted to crawl towards the kitchen. Lowell walked up to him, removed the revolver from the holster and shot all of the rounds into his father. He reloaded the revolver and again emptied it into his father. Mr. Andrews was shot a total of 17 times.

Lowell attempted to stage the scene as a burglary/homicide. Then to establish an alibi he drove back to his dormitory room to collect his typewriter and then drove to the Granada movie theater and watched a movie, "Mardi Gras." After the movie he drove back to Wolcott. Along the way he stopped on the Massachusetts bridge to dismantle the guns and drop the parts into the Kansas river.

After he arrived back at his parents home he called the police to report a robbery. When the police arrived they found Lowell sitting on the front porch petting his dog. They asked him what happened and he nonchalantly pointed to the door and told the officers to look inside. Once they discovered the bodies the police summoned the coroner. The coroner asked Lowell if he had a particular funeral arrangements in mind. With a careless shrug Lowell replied that he didn't care what happened to them.

Convinced he was lying, detectives took Lowell in for questioning but he stuck to his story about the robbery and refused to budge. That is, until he was paid a jailhouse visit by his minister, Rev. Virto Dameron. Rev. Dameron spoke with Lowell at length and was finally able to get him to tell the truth about the murders of his parents and sister. He also persuaded Lowell to confess to the detectives.

Lowell's motive for the murders revolved around a fantasy world he had dreamed up for himself. He wanted to live the gangster life and move to Chicago, IL where he would become a hired assassin. The only thing that stood in his way was his parents and sister. Once he had dispatched of them he would be able to inherit the family farm and the $1,800 in his father's savings account.

When Lowell was charged with the murders he plead not guilty by reason of insanity but he was convicted and sentenced to death.

Lowell Lee Andrews was executed by hanging at the Kansas State Penitentary on November 30, 1962. He never uttered any final words or showed any remorse for his crimes.

Lowell's case is mentioned in Truman Capote's book: "In Cold Blood."



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