Hi-Fi murders

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Hi-Fi murders
LocationOgden, Utah, United States
DateApril 22, 1974
Attack type
Robbery, rape, murder, mass shooting
WeaponsHandgun, ballpoint pen, Drano
Deaths3
Non-fatal injuries
2 (both permanent)
PerpetratorsDale Selby
William Andrews
Keith Roberts
The deceased victims: Stanley Walker, Sherry Michelle Ansley, and Carol Naisbitt (stated as Mrs. Byron Naisbitt, using her husband's name)
Dale Selby Pierre
Born(1953-01-21)January 21, 1953
DiedAugust 28, 1987(1987-08-28) (aged 34)
OccupationUnited States Air Force
Criminal statusExecuted by lethal injection
August 28, 1987
Conviction(s)First-degree murder
Aggravated robbery
Criminal penaltyDeath
William Andrews
Born1955
DiedJuly 30, 1992(1992-07-30) (aged 37)
OccupationUnited States Air Force
Criminal statusExecuted by lethal injection
July 30, 1992
Conviction(s)First-degree murder
Aggravated robbery
Criminal penaltyDeath
Keith Leon Roberts
Born
United States
OccupationUnited States Air Force
Criminal statusParoled 1987
Conviction(s)Aggravated robbery
Criminal penalty5 years to life imprisonment

The Hi-Fi murders were the brutal torture and killings of three people during a robbery at a home audio store in Ogden, Utah on the evening of April 22, 1974. Several men entered the "Hi-fi Shop" shortly before closing time and began taking hostages; two would survive but with severe life-changing injuries. Violence included a pen being kicked into an ear and the brutal rape of a teenage girl who was later shot in the head. Corrosive drain cleaner was also forcefully given to the hostages causing horrific burns to their mouths and throats. The crime became notorious for its violence and accusations of racial bias in the Utah judiciary.[2][3]

Police believed that six men were involved in the robbery but only had enough evidence to convict three enlisted United States Air Force airmen named Dale Selby Pierre, William Andrews and Keith Roberts.[4] Pierre and Andrews were both sentenced to death and executed for murder and aggravated robbery while Roberts, who had remained in a getaway vehicle, was convicted of robbery.

Robbery[edit]

On April 22, 1974, Pierre, Andrews, Roberts, and three other men drove in two vans to the Hi-Fi Shop at 2323 Washington Boulevard, Ogden, just before closing time. Three of the group then entered the shop brandishing handguns, while Roberts and another man remained with the vehicles.[4] Two employees, Stanley Walker, age 20, and Michelle Ansley, age 18, were in the store at the time and were taken hostage. Pierre and Andrews took the two into the store's basement and bound them. The gang then began robbing the store.

Later, a 16-year-old boy named Byron Cortney Naisbitt[5] arrived to thank Walker for allowing him to park his car in the store's parking lot as he ran an errand next door; he was also taken hostage and tied up in the basement with Walker and Ansley. Later that evening, Orren Walker, Stanley's 43-year-old father, became worried that his son had not returned home.

Cortney Naisbitt's mother, Carol Peterson Naisbitt,[5] also arrived at the shop later that evening looking for her son, who was late getting home. Both Orren Walker and Carol Naisbitt were taken hostage and tied up in the basement.

Murder, torture and rape[edit]

With five people now held hostage in the basement, Pierre told Andrews to get something from their van. Andrews returned with a bottle in a brown paper bag, from which Pierre poured a cup of blue liquid. Pierre ordered Orren to administer the liquid to the other hostages, but he refused, and was bound, gagged, and left face-down on the basement floor.

Pierre and Andrews then propped each of the victims into sitting positions and forced them to drink the liquid, telling them it was vodka laced with sleeping pills. Rather, it was liquid Drano, that immediately caused blisters on the victims' lips, and began burning their tongues and throats and peeled away the flesh around their mouths.[6] Ansley, still begging for her life,[7] was forced to drink the drain cleaner too, although she was reported (by Orren Walker) to have coughed less than the other victims. Pierre and Andrews tried to duct tape the hostages' mouths shut to hold quantities of drain cleaner in and to silence their screams, but the oozing blisters prevented the adhesive from sticking. Orren Walker was the last to be given the drain cleaner, but seeing what was happening to the other hostages, he allowed it to pour out of his mouth and then mimicked the convulsions and screams of his son and fellow hostages.

Pierre became angry because the deaths were taking too long and were too loud and messy, so he shot both Carol and Cortney Naisbitt in the backs of their heads, proving fatal for Carol but leaving Cortney alive. Pierre then shot at Orren Walker but missed. He then fatally shot Stanley before again shooting at Orren, this time grazing the back of his head.

Pierre then took Ansley to the far corner of the basement, forced her at gunpoint to remove her clothes, then repeatedly and brutally raped her after telling Andrews to clear out for 30 minutes. When he was done, he allowed her to use the bathroom while he watched, then dragged her, still naked, back to the other hostages, threw her on her face, and fatally shot her in the back of the head. According to survivor Orren's testimony, her last words were "I am too young to die."[8]

Andrews and Pierre noted that Orren was still alive, so Pierre mounted him, wrapped a wire around his throat, and tried to strangle him. When this failed, Pierre and Andrews inserted a ballpoint pen into Orren's ear, and Pierre stomped it until it punctured his eardrum, broke, and exited the side of his throat. Pierre and Andrews then went upstairs, finished loading equipment into their van, and departed.

Victims[edit]

The victims included the following five individuals, three of whom were murdered. Each of the victims was bound, forced to drink liquid Drano, and later shot. Nonetheless, two individuals survived their injuries.

  • Sherry Michelle Ansley (January 24, 1956 – April 22, 1974): Michelle Ansley, age 18, was an employee of the Hi-Fi Shop.[9] She had been hired only a week before the murders. She had recently become engaged and planned to be married on August 5, 1974.[10] Ansley was raped and shot by Pierre.
  • Byron Cortney Naisbitt (September 25, 1957 – June 4, 2002): Cortney Naisbitt, aged 16, was a student at Ogden High School. Although he survived his injuries, he suffered from amnesia and was thus unable to testify at trial. Naisbitt was able to return to school more than a year after the incident, and he graduated with his class at the high school in 1976. Due to the brain damage from his head wound, however, he was forced to drop out of college. Because he could not hold down a job, he had to apply for Social Security assistance. On November 15, 1985, Naisbitt married Catherine Hunter but later remarried.[11] He suffered chronic pain for the rest of his life, and died on June 4, 2002, aged 44.[12][13]
  • Carol Elaine Naisbitt (née Peterson) (December 25, 1921 – April 22, 1974): Carol Naisbitt, age 52, was the mother of victim Cortney Naisbitt.[14] She died at the hospital after being shot by Pierre.[15]
  • Orren William Walker (September 17, 1930 – February 13, 2000): Orren Walker, age 43, was the father of victim Stanley Walker. Having survived the attack, he testified at trial against the perpetrators. He died on February 13, 2000, aged 69.[16]
  • Stanley Orren Walker (March 19, 1954 – April 22, 1974): Stanley Walker, age 20, was an employee of the Hi-Fi Shop. He was shot by Pierre.[17]

Arrests[edit]

The bodies were discovered almost three hours later, when Orren's wife and other son came to the store looking for them. Orren's son heard noises coming from the basement and broke down the back door while Mrs. Walker called the Ogden police. Stanley Walker and Ansley were already dead; Carol Naisbitt was taken by ambulance to St. Benedict's Hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival. Cortney, though not expected to live, survived with severe and irreparable brain damage; he was hospitalized for 266 days before being released. Orren Walker survived with extensive burns to his mouth and chin, as well as the damage to his ear caused by the pen.

Hours after news of the crime broke, an anonymous Air Force employee called the Ogden police and told them that Andrews had confided to him months earlier, "One of these days I'm going to rob that Hi-Fi shop, and if anybody gets in the way, I'm going to kill them." Hours later, two teenage boys dumpster diving near Hill Air Force Base, where Pierre and Andrews were stationed, contacted the police after discovering the victims' wallets and purses, recognizing their pictures from the drivers' licenses.

The detective who responded to the scene, believing that the killers might be in the crowd, put on a show for the gathered airmen. Speaking dramatically, he waved each piece of evidence in the air with tongs as he removed it from the dumpster. Later, he noted that most of the service personnel who gathered around the dumpster stood still and watched in relative silence, with the exception of two men, later identified to be Pierre and Andrews, who paced around the crowd, speaking loudly and making frantic gestures with their hands. The detective later received an award from the Utah branch of the Justice Department for his use of proactive techniques.

Based on the two men's reactions to the evidence being removed from the trash bin, and the officer's implication of Andrews, Pierre and Roberts were arrested. A search warrant was then issued for their barracks. Police found fliers for the Hi-Fi Shop and a rental contract for a unit at a public storage facility. Following the issuance of another search warrant, stereo equipment taken from the Hi-Fi Shop, later identified via serial numbers, was recovered from the storage unit. Also recovered was the half-empty bottle of Drano.

With the collection of the evidence, Pierre and Andrews were charged with first-degree murder and aggravated robbery. Another airman, Keith Roberts, who had waited outside the Hi-Fi Shop in a getaway vehicle, was charged with armed robbery.

Trial[edit]

The joint trial of Pierre, Andrews, and Roberts for first-degree murder and robbery began on October 15, 1974 in Farmington in neighboring Davis County. On November 16, 1974, Pierre and Andrews were convicted of all charges; Roberts was convicted only of robbery. Four days later, Pierre and Andrews were sentenced to death. Roberts was sentenced to imprisonment, and was paroled in 1987.

During the trial, it was revealed that Pierre and Andrews had robbed the store with the intention of killing anyone they came across, and in the months prior to the robbery had been looking for a way to commit the murders quietly and cleanly. The two then repeatedly watched the film Magnum Force, in which a prostitute played by Margaret Avery is forced to drink Drano and is then shown immediately dropping dead.[8][18] Pierre and Andrews decided that this would be an efficient method of murder and decided to use it in their crime.

Survivor Orren Walker was the star witness for the prosecution. Due to his amnesia, Cortney Naisbitt was unable to testify. His father, Byron Hunter Naisbitt, did testify.

Convictions[edit]

The official police report stated that six black men driving two vans committed the robbery. Roberts and another man remained with the cars and two others loaded the vans, while Pierre and Andrews tortured and killed the victims. However, detectives only had enough evidence to convict Pierre, Andrews and Roberts. Ogden Police Department Officer Delroy White, who was a detective when he worked the case, observed: "Andrews was the brains behind the whole deal, the one who organized it [...] Pierre was the enforcer."[4]

  • Dale Selby Pierre (January 21, 1953 – August 28, 1987): Pierre was 21 years old at the time of the crime. He was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, until moving to Brooklyn, New York, at the age of 17. In May 1973, Pierre entered active service with the United States Air Force, and was transferred to Hill Air Force Base in September 1973 as a helicopter mechanic. Almost on arrival, Pierre became the prime suspect in the October 5, 1973, murder of Edward Jefferson, an Air Force Sergeant at Hill Air Force Base, though police lacked enough evidence to file charges. At the time of the Hi-Fi murders, Pierre was out on bail for car theft from a Salt Lake City car dealer. On November 16, 1974, Pierre was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated robbery for the Hi-Fi crimes. On November 20, 1974, he was given three death sentences, one for each of the murder victims. While in prison, Pierre changed his name 27 times, reportedly to protect his family name from notoriety, finally settling on "Dale Pierre Selby" (simply transposing his first, middle, and last names from birth) as his legal name. After exhaustion of appeals, Pierre was executed by lethal injection on August 28, 1987, at the age of 34. At the time of his death, Pierre bequeathed all of his money ($29) to Andrews.
  • William Andrews: Andrews was 19 years old at the time of the crime. During the trial it was revealed that he and Selby had the intention of killing anyone they came across while robbing the store. On November 16, 1974, Andrews was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated robbery for the Hi-Fi crimes. Andrews' death conviction was considered especially controversial due to the fact he did not directly kill any of the victims but did admit to forcefully administering Drano down their throats.[19] On November 20, 1974, he was given three death sentences, one for each of the murder victims. Andrews was executed by lethal injection on July 30, 1992, at the age of 37, after 18 years on Death Row.[20]
  • Keith Leon Roberts: The court found that Keith Roberts, then 19, had no role in, or knowledge of, the murders. He was, however, convicted of two counts of aggravated robbery and was sentenced to 5 years to life. Roberts was paroled on May 12, 1987, after nearly 13 years in prison and moved to Chandler, Oklahoma to live with relatives.[21][11]

Pierre and Andrews became notoriously hated prisoners at Utah State Prison and were particularly reviled on death row. In 1977, convicted murderer Gary Gilmore (also facing capital punishment) was reported to have said, "I'll see you in Hell, Pierre and Andrews!" as he passed their cells on the way to his execution by firing squad.[22] However, The Deseret News reported that Gilmore's parting words to the Hi-Fi killers, moments before his execution were: "Adios, Pierre and Andrews. I'll be seeing you directly."[23][24]

Appeals and aftermath[edit]

Following the handing down of death sentences to the defendants, the NAACP and Amnesty International campaigned to commute Pierre and Andrews' death sentences.[25]

The NAACP demanded that Pierre and Andrews' death sentences should be revoked because of racial bias at the trial. They noted that the defendants were both black, and the victims and jury were all white. According to Amnesty International, the sole black member of the jury pool was stricken peremptorily by the prosecution during jury selection.[26] Andrews also accused the judicial system of racism following the NAACP's request for reduced sentences. In an interview with USA Today, he claimed that he had never intended to kill anyone. This was later rebutted when detectives cited a statement by Andrews in which he admitted being the one to purchase the drain cleaner and bring it to the store on the night of the killings.

After Pierre's execution, a petition for a stay of Andrews' execution was submitted to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.[27] In the Inter-American Commission petition, it was alleged that a hand-written note, "hang the niggers", had been found in the jury area during a recess, and that the judge had refused a request for a mistrial and a right to question jurors concerning the note. Despite these appeals, both death sentences were ultimately upheld.[28]

In December 1996, the Inter-American Commission found that the United States had violated its international obligations by denying William Andrews a trial free from racial discrimination.[27]

The Deseret News reports that Dale Pierre Selby said, to no one in particular, moments before his execution: "I'll be glad when this is over."[23] When asked if he had any final words, he responded, "Thank you. I'm just going to say my prayers."[24]

Legacy[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Utah denies stay of execution." The Tuscaloosa News. p. 2A. Saturday July 25, 1992. Retrieved on June 4, 2016.
  2. ^ "Utah Executes Andrews 18 Years After Brutal Robbery". The Herald Journal. July 20, 1992. Retrieved June 19, 2011.
  3. ^ "Black 'murderer' who did not kill faces needle of death". The Independent. July 30, 1992. Retrieved June 19, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c "Hi Fi Evidence Unpacked, Sorted". Deseret News. August 9, 1992. Retrieved June 19, 2011.
  5. ^ a b "B. Cortney Naisbitt" (obituary). The Salt Lake Tribune. July 14, 2002. Retrieved on June 4, 2016.
  6. ^ "Forty Years Later, the Ogden Hi-Fi Murders Are Still the Worst". August 4, 2017. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  7. ^ "The Hi-Fi Murderers Were Inspired To Use Drano As A Form Of Torture From The Film 'Magnum Force'". Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  8. ^ a b Kinder, Gary (1982). Victim: The Other Side of Murder. Delacorte Press. ISBN 0-385-29105-1.
  9. ^ Michelle Ansley at Find a Grave
  10. ^ "2 Hill airmen arrested in brutal Ogden killings". Deseret News. April 24, 1974. p. B2.
  11. ^ a b DeVoy, Beverly. "Hi Fi Tragedy Lives on for Victims' Family." The Deseret News. Wednesday August 23, 1989. Retrieved on June 4, 2016.
  12. ^ "Hi-Fi Torture Victim Dies 28 Years Later". The Salt Lake Tribune. July 15, 2002.
  13. ^ Cortney Naisbitt at Find a Grave
  14. ^ Carol Naisbitt at Find a Grave
  15. ^ Ortiz, Marcos (June 28, 2012). "Ogden Hi-Fi murders revisited". ABC4.com. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  16. ^ Orren W. Walker at Find a Grave
  17. ^ Stanley Walker at Find a Grave
  18. ^ Douglas, John E.; Olshaker, Mark (1999). The Anatomy of Motive: The FBI's Legendary Mindhunter Explores the Key to Understanding and Catching Violent Criminals. New York: Scribner. pp. 91–109. ISBN 978-0-684-84598-2.
  19. ^ "Black 'murderer' who did not kill faces needle of death". Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  20. ^ Gillespie, L. Kay (1997). The Unforgiven: Utah's Executed Men. Signature Books. ISBN 1-56085-098-1.
  21. ^ "Ogden Hi-Fi murders revisited". ABC4.com. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
  22. ^ Douglas, John E.; Olshaker, Mark (August 11, 1999). The Anatomy of Motive: The FBI's Legendary Mindhunter Explores the Key to Understanding and Catching Violent Criminals. Simon & Schuster. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-684-85779-4. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  23. ^ a b Spangler, Jerry (August 28, 1987). "Selby Pays for 1974 Hi-Fi Murders: Injections painlessly end life of killer by 1:12 a.m." The Deseret News. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
  24. ^ a b McShane, Larry (April 24, 1992). "Last Words of Those Executed Express Variety of Emotions". Daily News. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
  25. ^ Johnson, Dirk (July 19, 1992). "Utah Execution Hinges on Issue of Racial Bias". The New York Times.
  26. ^ "United States of America: Death by Discrimination - The Continuing Role of Race in Capital Cases".
  27. ^ a b Case 11.139, Petition dated July 28, 1992, http://www.cidh.org/annualrep/97eng/USA11139.htm
  28. ^ Carter, Mike (March 18, 1998). "'Hi-Fi Killer': U.S., Utah Violated Black Man's Human Rights, Commission Says". Los Angeles Sentinel. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via HighBeam Research.
  29. ^ Douglas, John; Burgess, Ann W.; Burgess, Allen G.; Ressler, Robert K. (2011). Crime Classification Manual: A Standard System for Investigating and Classifying Violent Crimes. John Wiley & Sons. p. 145.
  30. ^ "Aftermath: A Test of Love". IMDb.com. 1991.
  31. ^ "Aftermath: A Test of Love - Official Movie Site". mylifetime.com. Retrieved September 9, 2012.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°13′28.57″N 111°58′14.51″W / 41.2246028°N 111.9706972°W / 41.2246028; -111.9706972