Hi-Fi Murders was an infamous criminal case involving murder,
rape and robbery which occurred in the Hi-Fi Shop in Ogden, Utah on
April 22, 1974.
The crimes were committed by
two 19-year-old United States Air Force airmen, Pierre Dale Selby
and William Andrews. Selby and Andrews took five people
hostage, killed three of them, and left the two who survived with
Following a trial, both men were found guilty and sentenced to
death. The NAACP campaigned to commute Selby and Andrews' death
sentences, despite overwhelming physical evidence and witness
accounts that identified them as the killers beyond a reasonable
rape, and murders
Andrews entered the Hi-Fi store in Ogden just before closing time,
brandishing handguns. Two employees,
Stanley Walker, age 20, and Michelle
Ansley, age 19, were in the store at the time and taken
hostage. Selby and Andrews took the two into the basement of the
store, bound them, and then began robbing the store.
16-year-old boy named Cortney Naisbitt
entered the store to thank Walker for helping him with an errand and
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. Orren arrived at the store and was also taken
hostage; at this point, Ansley began begging and crying.
After Orren was taken to the
basement, Selby ordered Andrews to go out to their van and bring him
back something. Andrews returned with a bottle in a brown paper bag,
from which Selby poured a cup of blue liquid. Selby 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. Just then,
Carol Naisbitt, Courtney's
52-year-old mother, entered the store looking for her son. Carol was
taken to the basement, bound, and placed next to her son.
Selby 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 an industrial drain cleaner whose active ingredient
was sodium hydroxide. The moment it touched the hostages' lips,
enormous blisters rose, and it began to burn their tongues and
throats and peel away the flesh around their mouths. Ansley, still
begging for her life, was not forced to drink the drain cleaner.
Pierre and Andrews tried to duct-tape the hostages' mouths shut to
hold quantities of drain cleaner in and to silence their screams,
but pus oozing from the 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 faked the convulsions and screams
of his son and fellow hostages.
Selby 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. Selby
then shot at Orren Walker but missed. He then fatally shot Stan
Walker before again shooting at Orren, this time striking him in the
back of the head.
Selby then took Ansley to the
far corner of the basement, forced her at gunpoint to remove her
clothes, then repeatedly and brutally raped her while Andrews
watched. When he was done, he dragged her, still naked, back to the
other hostages, threw her on her face, and fatally shot her in the
back of the head.
and Selby noted that Orren was still alive, so Selby mounted him,
wrapped a wire around his throat, and tried to strangle him. When
this failed, Selby and Andrews inserted a ballpoint pen into Orren's
ear, and Selby stomped it until it punctured his eardrum, broke, and
exited the side of his throat. Selby and Andrews then went upstairs,
finished loading equipment into their van, and departed.
were discovered four 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 9-1-1. Stan Walker and Ansley were already dead; Carol
Naisbitt lived long enough to be loaded into an ambulance, but was
pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.
Although Cortney was not
expected to live, he did survive, albeit with severe and irreparable
brain damage, and required hospitalization for 266 days before being
released. Despite his severe injuries, Orren Walker survived,
although with extensive burns to his stomach and esophagus.
Hours after news of the crime
broke, an Air Force officer called the Ogden police and told them
that Andrews had confided in 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 after that call was received, two
teenage boys Dumpster diving near Hill Air Force Base where Selby
and Andrews were stationed discovered the victims' wallets and
purses, and, recognizing the pictures on the drivers' licenses,
called the police. A crowd of airmen quickly formed, including Selby
The detective who responded to the scene, believing
that the killers might be in the crowd, put on a show, speaking
dramatically and waving each piece of evidence in the air with tongs
as he removed them from the Dumpster.
He later noted in his report
that out of all the airmen gathered around the dumpster, most of
whom stood still and watched in relative silence, two in particular
paced around the crowd, spoke loudly, and made frantic gestures with
their hands. The detective later identified these two airmen as
Selby and Andrews. The detective later received an award from the
Utah branch of the Justice Department for his use of proactive
Based on Selby's and Andrews's
reactions to the evidence being removed from the trash bin, and the
officer's implication of Andrews, Andrews and Selby were taken into
custody and a search warrant was issued for their barracks. Police
found fliers for the hi-fi shop and a rental contract for a unit at
a public storage facility.
Police obtained a warrant for the storage
unit, where they discovered several pieces of stereo equipment which
were later identified from serial numbers as having been taken from
the hi-fi store. During the course of removing the equipment from
the storage unit, detectives discovered the half-empty bottle of
industrial drain cleaner that had been used on the hostages. Based
on this evidence Selby and Andrews were formally charged with the
person, Keith Roberts, was also charged.
and Roberts were tried and jointly for first-degree murder and
robbbery. Selby and Andrews were convicted of all charges and
sentenced to death. Roberts was convicted only of robbery and was
sentenced to imprisonment.
the trial it was revealed that Selby 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 saw the film Magnum
Force, in which a prostitute is forced to drink Drano and is
then shown immediately dropping dead. Selby and Andrews decided that
this would be an efficient method of murder and decided to use it in
their crime. Orren Walker and Cortney Naisbitt were the star
witnesses for the prosecution; both testified on the stand, in spite
of Naisbitt's brain damage and Walker's mutilated throat.
issuing of death sentences, the NAACP demanded that Selby and
Andrews' sentences be reduced to life with the possibility of
parole, claiming that Pierre and Andrews had been unfairly convicted
since they were both black, and the victims and jury were all white.
Andrews was quick to accuse the judicial system of racism following
the NAACP's request for reduced sentences, and 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.
Selby and Andrews became
notoriously hated prisoners, even amongst the black population. They
were particularly reviled on death row, especially by Gary Gilmore
(also facing capital punishment and imprisoned at the same
facility), whose final words to his fellow inmates before being
taken to face the firing squad were, "I'll see you in Hell, Pierre
and Andrews!" Gilmore is reported to have laughed at Selby and
Andrews as he passed by their cells.
Despite movements by the NAACP
and Amnesty International, Selby and Andrews were both put to death
by lethal injection, Selby on August 28, 1987, Andrews five years
later in 1992.
The Hi-Fi Murders are still
seen as among the worst crimes ever committed in the state of Utah.
The case is now taught to FBI trainees at the FBI Academy at
Quantico, Virginia, and it was included as a sample case in the
FBI's Crime Classification Manual.
Cortney Naisbitt's story
became the basis for the book Victim:
The Other Side of Murder by Gary
Kinder. This book was viewed by many as pioneering because it
was one of the first true crime books that focused on the victims of
a violent crime rather than the criminals. Cortney suffered chronic
pain for the rest of his life, until his death on
June 4, 2002 at the age of 44. Due
to his brain damage, he was forced to drop out of college, and
because he could not hold down a job, had to apply for social
Walker, the other victim who survived the brutal attack, died on
February 13, 2000.
The incident was also the basis for a 1991 CBS Television movie
called Aftermath: A Test of Love, starring Richard
Chamberlain and Michael Learned.
Torture Victim Dies 28 Years Later
The Salt Lake Tribune | 7/15/2002
| GLEN WARCHOL
Twenty-eight years after the brutal Hi-Fi murders
shocked Utah, Cortney Naisbitt, one of the two survivors of Ogden's
1974 torture-murder rampage, has died.
was plagued throughout his life by disabilities that stemmed from
being tortured, shot in the head and left for dead, died June 4 in
Seattle after a long, undisclosed illness. He was 44.
Byron Naisbitt of Ogden, declined comment except to say: "This is
the end of the Hi-Fi story. I want this to be the end of it."
The story of
Cortney Naisbitt's struggle to survive his wounds and rebuild his
life after the crime, which was made into a book and later a
television movie, is credited by many with starting the victims'
rights movement. Byron Naisbitt says a deeper understanding of the
victims of crime would be the best legacy of his son's struggle.
On April 22,
1974, the 16-year-old high school science whiz had just completed
his first solo flight as a pilot. After having his shirt tail
unceremoniously cut off by his instructor and nailed to the wall of
the flight school, Naisbitt headed for home.
But he decided
to stop at a downtown Ogden photo shop to pick up some pictures. To
get back to the parking lot, he took a shortcut through the
neighboring Hi-Fi Shop. There, Naisbitt was confronted by Pierre
Dale Selby and William Andrews, airmen from Hill Air Force Base, who
were in the process of robbing the store.
Andrews took hostage the high school student and two other people --
Stanley Walker and Michelle Ansley. Later, when Naisbitt's mother,
Carol Naisbitt, and 20-year-old Walker's father, Orren Walker, came
to look for their sons, they too were held at gunpoint in the store
The men forced
their five hostages to drink caustic Drano drain opener. Selby raped
18-year-old Ansley. Later, he began shooting each hostage in the
head. When Orren Walker showed signs of life, Selby, who had run out
of bullets, kicked a ball-point pen into his ear.
Walker and Cortney Naisbitt survived the ordeal, Naisbitt, badly
brain damaged, never remembered the events of that day. Walker was
the key witness in the trial.
executed by lethal injection in 1987. Despite appeals on the basis
that Andrews had not done any of the shootings, he was executed in
1992. A third man, who was waiting outside in the getaway car, was
convicted of robbery.
execution, Naisbitt told The Salt Lake Tribune he had forgiven Selby
and Andrews, but added, "Where does the anger a victim feels for a
perpetrator go when the perpetrator is gone?"
interview, Gary Kinder, author of Victim: The Other Side of Murder,
which recounts Naisbitt's struggle to survive his horrible wounds
and graduate high school, said the 16-year-old was never expected to
from the moment he arrived in the emergency room until he got out of
the intensive care unit seven months later, thought he was going to
die at any time," Kinder said. "In ICU, you either get better in a
few days or you die. He stayed right on that edge."
Naisbitt's survival was a testimony to the support he received from
his family, church and community, particularly his father Byron
"It was as if
Byron willed him to live. He had someone there holding Cort's hand
24 hours a day. Brothers, sisters, members of his church. Doctors
are not particularly sentimental, but they saw no other reason
whatsoever for him to have survived."
trained in computers and held a job at Hill Air Force Base. Kinder,
now a best-selling author, said he wrote Victim in 1984 to explore
the lasting impact of crime on the victims. Books about criminals
always have been popular, he said. "This was the only book until
recently that dramatized the victims' side of crime. I hope I made
these people real because they were your next-door neighbor."
who had never before written a book, approached Byron Naisbitt to
write the book, the widowed father said simply, "If you think
hearing our story will help somebody down the road, let's do it."
Over the years,
the author, who remains close to the family, says he has heard from
many readers, including criminal defense attorneys, who have been
forced to rethink their beliefs about justice and capital
"It did not
bother me at all when they executed [Selby]," Kinder said. "Pierre
Dale Selby was a psychopath. The other two men were terrified of
But Kinder is
still struggling to make sense of Naisbitt's death after so many
years of struggle: "I don't know how to answer that question."
Hi-fi shop murders in Ogden, Utah
In 1974 the high
profile case of the Hi-Fi Shop murders would forever change the
lives in the community of Ogden Utah.
In years past, one could walk down the streets of Ogden Utah with a
feeling of security, without the worry of who might be waiting
around the corner, or just beyond the door. On April 22, 1974, all
that would change for this picturesque town in Northern Utah. Having
a relatively low crime rate at the time, the citizens of Ogden would
be rocked by the events of this night, forever changing their
April 22, started out like any other spring day, but before the
day’s end, five people would experience the most inexplicable terror
they could have ever imagined.
The day wore down to late afternoon, and prominent Ogden citizen,
Carol Naisbitt, wife of Doctor Byron Naisbitt, became worried when
her son, Cortney was extremely late arriving home from an errand at
the Hi-Fi Shop, located on Washington Blvd in Ogden. As the minutes
ticked by, Carol became more worried, knowing this was completely
out of character for her son. Deciding he had been gone way too
long, Carol went in search of her son. When she walked into the Hi-Fi
Shop, Carol walked onto the scene of what would soon become one of
the most grisly murders in Utah history.
Cortney and three other people, Sherry Machelle Ansley, Orren Walker,
and (Orren’s son) Stanley Walker were being held hostage by two
black gunmen. Just after Carole walked through the door, the two men
locked up the doors of the Hi-Fi shop and forced the five hostages
into the basement at gunpoint.
Once in the basement, Sherry Machelle Ansley was forced into another
room where she was brutally raped. When the perpetrators were
finished with her, they forced her and the four other victims to
drink Drano before shooting each of them in the head with a 25
caliber gun. Then the two men made off with over $25,000 in stereo
equipment. Of the five victims, only Cortney and Orren would survive.
When police arrived on the scene some time later, they were aghast
at the brutality of the crimes committed against these people; the
manhunt was on, and they would leave no stone unturned until these
monsters were brought to justice.
The next day an unnamed informant called in a tip to Ogden City
Police with information that would help wrap up the case much sooner
than police had anticipated. The informant, an airman stationed at
Hill Air Force Base, told police that he had overheard two of his
fellow airmen talking about robbing a store and reenacting the
violent scenes of the movie, Magnum Force, which the two had seen
the night before the murders.
Shortly after receiving the tip, police arrived at the air force
barracks and arrested two suspects, William Andrews and Pierre Dale
Selby. Later, police would also arrest Keith Roberts, whom
apparently had been waiting outside in a car for the two suspects to
finish their business on that fateful night.
The story that Orren Walker told at the trial, struck terror into
the hearts of all that heard him. Orren Walker recounted the
atrocities that he and the other victims were forced to endure at
the hands of these killers. Orren witnessed the murder of his twenty
year old son, before their attempt to murder him. One of the bullets
missed his head, the other just grazing it. When the suspects ran
out of bullets, they jammed a pen in his ear and attempted to
strangle him before leaving him for dead.
With a severe gunshot wound to the head, and brain damage, Cortney
Naisbitt’s survival was nothing short of miraculous. Cortney lay in
a coma for days, struggling for his life. His family was told that
if he lived, he would probably be a vegetable.
Not only did Cortney survive, but he went on to finish high-school
and obtain his pilots license, which had been his life long dream.
Cortney’s heroic fight for survival was the subject of Gary Kinder’s
1982 best-seller, “Victim; the Other Side of Murder, which was made
into the 1991 TV movie, Aftermath, A Test Of Love, starring Richard
The court found that Keith Roberts had no role in, or knowledge of
the murders, though he was convicted of armed robbery. Roberts was
paroled in 1987. Andrews and Selby were found guilty of three counts
of aggravated homicide and sentenced to death.
After years of appeals, Selby was executed in 1987; Andrews’
sentence was carried out five years later. Though there was no joy
throughout the community at the execution of these two men, neither
was there a display of remorse. With their vicious actions, these
two men had not only changed the lives of three families, but they
changed the life style of an entire town.
Unfortunately, the result of this case would be mass distrust of the
black community in Ogden. The people were blamed and mistrusted for
something they had nothing to do with; it would take decades for the
racial tension to dissipate.
Utah Execution Hinges on Issue
of Racial Bias
Johnson - The New York Times
July 19, 1992
A bitter fight over the definition of murder and the influence of
racism, old Mormon teachings and new legal interpretations has come
down to this: Should William Andrews live or die?
Mr. Andrews, a black man who is scheduled to be
executed on July 30, was not present when his accomplice, also black,
shot three white people to death in a robbery in 1974. But he admits
that before he left the scene he tortured five people by forcing
them to drink Drano, a caustic drain cleaner. Two of them survived,
one with serious brain damage.
The Utah Supreme Court upheld the death sentence
for Mr. Andrews on Friday, making a total of 18 unsuccessful state
and Federal appeals. The last chance appears to be an appeal before
the Utah Board of Pardons.
Civil rights advocates say Mr. Andrews received
the death penalty even though more notorious white murderers have
been allowed to live.
They also note that during the sentencing someone
slipped a note to the jury box that read, "Hang the Niggers." The
United States Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal for Mr.
Andrews in 1988, but Justice Thurgood Marshall issued a dissent,
joined by William J. Brennan Jr., in which he called the note
slipped to the jury "a vulgar incident of lynch-mob racism
reminiscent of Reconstruction days."
Mr. Andrews's lawyers also note that the jury was
all-white. Utah has a small black population; currently, blacks make
up less than 1 percent of the population. Most of the jurors were
Mormons, at a time when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints did not allow blacks to become priests. Even though that ban
has been overturned, it has left a legacy of distrust.
At his trial, Mr. Andrews had a defense lawyer
who had recently graduated from law school. 'Raw Case of Racism'
"I've never seen such a raw case of racism," said
Stephen Hawkins, a lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense and
Educational Fund. "The entire case was infected with racism."
He said a prosecutor had kept a black prospective
juror off the jury.
But supporters of the death penalty in this case
say Mr. Andrews knew that his actions would result in deaths, a
standard for a murder conviction established by Supreme Court
rulings. A medical examiner's report stated that the victims would
have died from the Drano within 12 hours if they had not been shot
"These three victims were pleading for their
lives," said Earl Dorius, a former state's attorney who worked on
the case. "This was brutal torture."
The victims included a 16-year-old boy, a
19-year-old woman, a 20-year-old man, the father of the 16-year-old,
and the mother of the 20-year-old. The father and the 20-year-old
man survived, but the younger man suffered brain damage. The attack
took place in the Ogden Hi-Fi Shop and came to be known as the
Mr. Andrews's co-defendant, Dale Selby Pierre,
who fired the shots, was executed in 1977. According to testimony,
Mr. Pierre raped the 19-year-old woman before she was killed.
The robbery and murders horrified Utahans, and
rumors were rampant that the crime had its roots in an anti-white
movement. The rumors were unfounded. Mr. Andrews and Mr. Pierre were
stationed at the Hill Air Force base here at the time. 'I Was Only
Mr. Andrews, who spoke recently by telephone from
the Utah State Prison, expressed remorse over his actions, but he
said he had not believed that the victims would die.
"I did pour the Drano into the cup," he said.
"But it was not with the intent of using it to kill the people. In
hindsight, I don't know what I was thinking. I was only 19."
Mr. Hawkins, the lawyer, said Mr. Andrews was
guilty of assault, not murder. "Was it assault? Yes," he said. "Has
William Andrews paid time for being an accomplice? Yes."
Support for Mr. Andrews has been significantly
stronger here among blacks, who have held marches in his support.
But some support has come from whites, including Mormons.
Boyer Jarvis, a retired University of Utah
professor and a Mormon, wrote in The Salt Lake Tribune that Utah had
"an abundance of two kinds of justice -- one for members of the
white majority, another for blacks."
At the time Mr. Andrews was sentenced, Utah law
did not give jurors the option of sentencing him to life without
parole. Since then, the law has been changed to allow that option.
Lawyers for Mr. Andrews asked the Utah Supreme
Court for a new sentencing trial that would include the option of
life without parole, but the Court ruled that the law could not be
"During the trial, people in Utah looked at Bill
Andrews and only saw a scary-looking black guy," said Tim Ford,
another lawyer for Mr. Andrews. "They didn't see a scared 19-year-old
But Mr. Dorius said Mr. Andrews should have
exhausted his chances. "For the sake of the families of the victims,
I think it's time that the justice system brought this to a close."
485 U.S. 919
Kenneth SHULSEN, Warden, et
Supreme Court of
the United States
February 29, 1988
Denied April 18, 1988.
U.S. 1015 .
petition for writ of
certiorari to the United
States Court of Appeals for
the Tenth Circuit.
petition for a writ of
certiorari is denied.
MARSHALL, with whom Justice
BRENNAN joins, dissenting.
my view that the death
penalty is in all
circumstances cruel and
prohibited by the Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendments, see
Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S.
153 , 231-241, 2973-2977
(1976) (MARSHALL, J.,
dissenting), I would grant
the petition for certiorari
and vacate petitioner's
death sentence. Even if I
did not hold this view, I
would grant the petition
because petitioner William
Andrews was convicted of
murder and sentenced to
death under circumstances
raising grave concerns of
impermissible racial bias.
These circumstances include
a midtrial incident in which
a juror handed the bailiff a
napkin with a drawing of a
man on a gallows above the
inscription, "Hang the
Niggers." The District Court
in this case refused even to
undertake an evidentiary
hearing to investigate
allegations of racial
prejudice. The Constitution
cannot countenance such
indifference and summary
treatment when a person's
life is at stake.
was convicted for his role
in a multiple murder during
the robbery of a hi-fi shop
in Ogden, Utah. The
ringleader of the crimes,
Dale Pierre, was executed
last year. Evidence at trial
indicated that petitioner
had a substantially less
active role in the murders
than Pierre . The two men
entered the shop together
and forced five people into
the store's basement. There
the victims were forced to
drink liquid drain cleaner,
which induced violent
One of the
two victims who survived the
robbery testified that
petitioner said, "I can't do
it, I'm scared," and that
petitioner left the scene
shortly thereafter. Only
after petitioner left did
Pierre carry out, in
fashion, the multiple
murders for which petitioner
has been sentenced to die.
Pet. for Cert. 3.
attention in the local press
and the community from which
the jury venire was drawn.
The incident also may have
generated racist sentiments,
inasmuch as the defendants
were black people and the
victims were white members
of the local community. The
single black member of the
venire was excluded, and an
all-white jury was empaneled.
racial incident involving
the jury occurred during the
trial. The jury was eating
lunch in a separate dining
room when a juror presented
the bailiff with a drawing
that had been made on a
napkin. The drawing
represented a stick figure
hanging on a gallows.
Underneath the figure were
the words, "Hang the Niggers."
The bailiff was unable to
say who had made the drawing
or how many other jurors had
seen it, although he did
inform the court that "some
of the jurors" had asked him
"what the court may do about
this." The only action the
trial court took in response
was to issue a general
instruction to the jury to
"ignore communications from
foolish people." Id., at
9-10, and n. 4.
petitioner and Pierre were
convicted, the court ordered
a 5-day recess. The jury was
not sequestered. During this
time, media coverage of the
conviction was widespread
and, petitioner alleges,
Petitioner alleges, for
example, that one newspaper
ran a false report that
petitioner had directed a "Black
Power" closed-fist gesture
at one of the surviving
victims after the verdict
was read. Id., at 10. The
jury returned for the
separate sentencing hearing
and voted unanimously to
sentence petitioner to death.
petition for a writ of
habeas corpus, petitioner
alleged that adverse
publicity and hostile
community sentiment had
injected racial animus into
his trial and undermined his
right to a fair trial. The
District Court refused to
convene an evidentiary
hearing to consider this
claim. 600 F.Supp. 408,
415-416 (Utah 1984). The
Court of Appeals for the
Tenth Circuit upheld this
refusal with little
discussion, stating: "
Having reviewed the briefs
and the appellate record, we
conclude that no hearing is
required under the
principles of Townsend v.
Sain, 372 U.S. 293 [ ]
(1963), and that the
constitutional standard for
a fair trial has been met."
802 F.2d 1256, 1260 (1986) (citations
Court has long held that
the remedy for
allegations of juror
partiality is a hearing
in which the defendant
has the opportunity to
prove actual bias."
Smith v. Phillips, 455
U.S. 209, 215 , 945
(1982). Such a hearing
is, of course,
especially vital when
the defendant has been
condemned to die. In
Turner v. Murray, 476
U.S. 28 (1986), the
Court vacated a death
sentence entered in a
case in which the trial
court had refused the
defendant's request to
question the prospective
jurors on racial
prejudice . The
that "in light of the
complete finality of the
death sentence," the
district courts to be
especially solicitous of
allegations of racial
prejudice in capital
cases. Id., at 35, 106
S.Ct. at 1688. The
vacated the sentence,
even though no specific
allegations of racial
prejudice had been made
other than the fact that
the case involved a
black defendant and a
white victim. The Court
concluded that "the risk
that racial prejudice
may have infected
unacceptable in light of
the ease with which that
risk could have been
minimized." Id., at 36.
This case involves far
more serious and
specific allegations of
racial animus than did
Turner, including a
vulgar incident of lynch-mob
racism reminiscent of
Moreover, petitioner is
not asking this Court to
decide whether there is
sufficient evidence of
racial prejudice to
impeach the conviction
and sentence. He seeks
only to have the
District Court undertake
an evidentiary hearing
to consider his charges.
I would think it clear
that the Constitution,
not to mention common
decency, requires no
less than this modest
procedure. See Tanner v.
United States, 483 U.S.
107, 142 , 2759 ( 1987)
concurring in part and
dissenting in part).
Was it one (or
more) of petitioner's jurors
who drew a black man hanging
on a gallows and attached
the inscription, "Hang the
Niggers"? How many other
jurors saw the incendiary
drawing before it was turned
over to the bailiff? Might
it have had any effect on
the deliberations? Was the
jury's decision to sentence
petitioner to die influenced
by racially- charged media
coverage of the trial
between the guilt and
penalty phases? These are
among the questions that
petitioner deserves to have
at least considered before
he is put to death for a
series of murders in which
he played only a secondary
role. It is conscience
shocking that all three
levels of the federal
judiciary are willing to
send petitioner to his death
without so much as
investigating these serious
allegations at an
evidentiary hearing. Not
only is this less process
than due; it is no process
at all. I dissent.