Who is Mr. Frederick Johnson in "In Cold Blood"?

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urthona eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Frederic Johnson (note the correct spelling of the first name) is the brother-in-law of Perry Smith, one of the two men convicted of murdering four members of the Clutter family. His wife, Barbara, was Smith's only surviving sibling.

He is mentioned twice:

  1. Capote provides the text of a letter to Smith written and signed by Barbara and Frederic.
  2. Capote indicates to readers that he will refer to Barbara as Mrs. Frederic Johnson.

(In the latter instance, Capote may be implying that "Johnson" is not the couple's last name, perhaps to protect their true identity.)