Utah Communication History Encyclopedia

May 5, 2010

The Ogden, Utah, Hi-Fi Murders: April 22, 1974

Filed under: Crime,Government, Law, Politics,Race & Ethnicity,Spring 2010 — comm5630 @ 6:21 pm

by KRISTINE CHILD

A heinous crime was committed in the quiet community of Odgen, Utah, on the night of April 22,1974. Little did those at the Hi-Fi store in town know what was going to happen.

Dale Selby Pierre and William Andrews, who were United States Air Force airmen, entered the shop where two employees, Stanley Walker and Michelle Ansley, “a pretty 19-year old who had been hired as a store clerk only a week before,” were working. (Spangler) Pierre and Andrews took them down to the basement, tied them up, and then they started to rob the store. When Cortney Naisbitt came into the store to talk with Stanley Walker, the robbers took him down to the basement also. (DelPorto) Later, Orren Walker came looking for his son, Stanley; Carol Naisbitt went to the store, too. Both were taken to the basement.

Outside, Keith Roberts, another airman, waited for Pierre and Andrews to rob the store. After forcing the hostages to drink liquid Drano, Pierre raped Michelle Ansley. (DelPorto, Lund) Then, deciding that it was taking too long for the hostages to die, Pierre shot each of them in the back of the head. Orren Walker survived, only to be tortured and have a pen kicked into his ear. (Wade) The men then loaded up their van with the stolen equipment and left.

Gary Kinder described the scene in his book, Victim: The Other Side of Murder:

When Stan had not shown up for dinner, Mr. Walker had driven to the shop to see if he had had trouble with the utility jeep they had just bought. Mrs. Walker began to worry when two hours had passed and neither had returned home. A little after ten she and the younger boy had gone to the shop. The boy, a strapping sixteen-year-old, had rung the buzzer in back. When he heard his father yelling for them to call the police and an ambulance, he had reared back and kicked in the locked door. (Kinder, 52)

Stanley Walker and Michelle Ansley were dead when they were found.  Carol Naisbitt made it as far as the ambulance ride, but was pronounced dead on arrival at St. Benedict’s Hospital in Ogden, Utah. Cortney Naisbitt was not expected to survive, but he pulled through with serious and permanent brain damage, and was hospitalized for 266 days. (Delporto) Orren Walker survived as well, but had extensive burns around the mouth and face, along with major ear damage from the torture.

Within hours of the crime an Air Force officer who supervised Pierre, Andrews, and Roberts, called in a tip to the Ogden City Police Department. When two teenage boys found wallets and other personal belongings of the victims in a Dumpster near Hill Air Force Base, a crowd of airmen gathered and after some theatrics and keen detective work, the three men were taken in as suspects.

All three were tried together for first-degree murder and robbery. (Lund)  The Deseret News reported on August 28, 1987: “Because of emotion and tension surrounding the case, it had been moved to Farmington from Ogden in a change of venue. Still within the same judicial district, Ogden Judge John F. Wahlquist heard the case.” (Wade) Walker was able to testify as the star witness. Naisbitt, on the other hand, suffered from amnesia due to his injuries and did not go to the trials, but his father, Dr. Bryon Naisbitt, did testify.

Because Roberts was waiting in the van and was not in the store at the time of the murders, he was only convicted of robbery and sent to prison. He was paroled in 1987.

Pierre and Andrews, on the other hand, were found guilty on both accounts of robbery and murder in the first degree. A journalist covering the trial reported on November 11, 1974: “The decision came from an 11-man, one woman jury after a day-long sentencing hearing in Second District Court.” (Lund)

At the time of the original sentencing the death penalty choices were by hanging or by a firing squad. Gilbert Athay and John Caine, the attorneys for Pierre and Andrews, appealed the verdicts with help from the NAACP and Amnesty International. The NAACP became involved because all three defendants were African American. During the process of selecting jurors, the candidates were intensely questioned in regards to their views on black people and their opinion on blood atonement.

A reporter present during the trial reported, “The undercurrent of emotion erupted one afternoon when juror James Weaver received a napkin at a Bountiful restaurant on which were written the words, ‘Hang the niggers.’ Court bailiff Tom Lenox, an ex-military intelligence officer and a Davis County deputy, reported to [Judge] Wahlquist that only two or three of the other jurors had seen the note, which Weaver had turned immediately over to the bailiff.” The defense pushed for a mistrial at that point, but Wahlquist gave a stern reprimand to the still unknown writer of the note. (Wade)

Amnesty International held a candlelight vigil on the night Pierre was put to death. In the article, “Amnesty plans vigil to protest Aug. 28 execuation of Selby,” the reporter stated, “State coordinator Michael Spurgin said the human rights group opposes the death penalty because it does not deter violent crime and is biased by race and economic class.” (Amnesty) Pam Wade reported, “News reports that day said Selby and Andrews  sat silent and emotionless as the verdicts were read but as Andrews left the courtroom, escorted by guards, he turned briefly, stared and clenched his fists at Orren Walker.” (Wade)

While in prison, Dale S. Pierre legally changed his name to Pierre Dale Selby. (Bernick) Selby was put to death by lethal injection, the first in Utah, on August 28, 1987. Gary DeLund, executive director of the department of corrections, was the man who gave the order to execute Selby. DeLund said, “It was remarkably different than the way his victims died. This execution was very calm, very peaceful. It (lethal injection) is probably the most humanitarian way to end a life.” (Spangler)

Andrews had the chance to appeal again after Selby was put to death. He believed he shouldn’t die, that he was a victim of circumstance, error, and youth. (Bernick) Earl Dorius, the assistant attorney general at the time, described Andrews as “… very slick, almost warmhearted, and sounds somewhat sorry for what he had done. But I’ll tell you, he is very methodical in his answers. It’s clear to me he’s been prepped to go just so far.” (Bernick 4A) William Andrews also was executed by lethal injection, on July 30, 1992.

Kristine Child is a senior at The University of Utah.  She is majoring in mass communication with an emphasis in strategic communication.

Sources

“Amnesty plans vigil to protest Aug. 28 execution of Selby,” The Deseret News, July 15, 1987, 10 A.

Bob Bernick Jr., “Selby’s final footsteps are echoing harbingers of fate awaiting Andrews,” The Deseret News, August 28, 1987, Metro, 4A.

Brett DelPorto, “Daughter’s death is avenged but bitter memories live on,” The Deseret News, August 28, 1987, Metro, 4A.

Brett DelPorto, “Hi Fi survivor aiming to leave ‘fame’ and victim status behind,” The Deseret News, August 28, 1987, Metro, 5A.

Jerry Spangler, “Selby Pays for 1974 Hi Fi Murders: Injections painlessly end life of killer by 1:12 a.m.,” The Deseret News, August 28, 1987, Metro.

Pam Wade, “Web of evidence tightened inexorably in the Hi Fi trial: Grisly event pieced painstakingly slowly,” The Deseret News, August 28, 1987, Metro, 4A.

Wanda Lund, “Hi Fi 2 guilty of murder,” The Deseret News, November 16, 1974, Metro, 3A.

Wanda Lund, “Jury Decrees Death for Hi Fi Slayers,” The Deseret News, November 11, 1974, Metro, B.

Gary Kinder. Victim: The Other Side of Murder. New York: Delacorte Press, 1982.

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