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Pierre Dale SELBY

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

   


A.K.A.: "The HI-FI Murders"
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery - Rape
Number of victims: 3
Date of murder: April 22, 1974
Date of arrest: Next day
Date of birth: 1952
Victims profile: Carol Naisbitt, 52; Michelle Ansley, 19, and Stanley Walker, 20
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Weber County, Utah, USA
Status: Executed by lethal injection in Utah on August 28, 1987
 
 

 
 

Late on the night of April 22, 1974, two airmen named Dale Pierre (aka Pierre Dale Shelby) and William Andrews entered the local Hi-Fi Shop in Ogden, Utah, where Stanley Walker and Michelle Ansley worked and Naisbitt was walking through. The two men decided they were going to rob the store.

They overpowered the workers and Naisbitt and took them to the basement. Carol Naisbitt (Cortney's mother) and Orren Walker (Stan's father) arrived at the store looking for their children after Cortney, Michelle, and Stan had already been taken to the basement of the store and tied up.

Pierre and Andrews forced them to drink liquid Drano, and then Pierre shot them in the head. Michelle Ansley was also raped. Michelle Ansley, Carol Naisbitt, Stanley Walker, died, while Orren Walker and Cortney Naisbitt survived.

Pierre and William Andrews were convicted of three counts of aggravated homicide and sentenced to death. Pierre was executed in 1987, and Andrews was executed in 1992.

A third participant in the robbery, Keith Roberts, had acted as a lookout and did not actually enter the store. He was found by the court to have had no role in or knowledge of the murders. He was convicted of armed robbery and paroled in 1987. Cortney Naisbitt's story was the basis of the book, "Victim: The Other Side Of Murder" (1980), by Brian Kinder, and the 1991 film, "Aftermath: A Test Of Love." 


The Hi-Fi murders

The so-called 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 horrific injuries.

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 doubt.

The robbery, rape, and murders

Selby and 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.

Later, a 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.

Andrews 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.

Investigation

The victims 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 and Andrews.

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 techniques.

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 crimes.

A third person, Keith Roberts, was also charged.

Trial

Selby, Andrews 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.

During 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.

Aftermath

Following the 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 security assistance.

Orren Walker, the other victim who survived the brutal attack, died on February 13, 2000.


Dale Pierre and William Andrews

Dale Pierre, also known as Pierre Dale Selby, was born on the isle of Tobago in 1952, but grew up on the isle of Trinidad. Growing up, Dale was always in trouble for one thing or another, although his parents tried to instill in him the difference between what was right and what was wrong.

Dale was a compulsive liar and he had a temper that he tried to control, and when he knew that someone had his game, he became subdued. If Dale didn't get what he wanted, when he wanted it, there was no standing him, but this side of him was not known to his parents.

In June 1970, Dale left Trinidad and Tobago for the United States, arriving in New York on June 7th. He lived in Brooklyn until May 1973, when he joined the United States Air Force, and was assigned to the Hill Air Force Base in Utah as a helicopter mechanic.

Dale was new to the Air Force when he became a suspect in the murder of Sergeant Edward Jefferson. Jefferson was found in his apartment, murdered by a bayonet. The detective in charge of the case, Don Moore, pieced together what happened from witnesses and records.

On Sunday, October 1, 1973, Dale Pierre had been at Jefferson's apartment taping music, when Jefferson discovered that his car keys were missing. Although Pierre and Jefferson thoroughly searched the house, the keys remained missing. It wasn't until the next day that the keys were found.

How they were found is the key to the murder. It seems that Pierre swiped the keys and brought them to the base for duplication. When Jefferson's car keys and apartment key were duplicated, Pierre signed the name 'Curtis Alexander', in an attempt to conceal the fact that he had stolen them. When Pierre returned to Jefferson's apartment the next day to help him find the keys, and miraculously, the keys reappeared.

Jefferson immediately became suspicious of Pierre, and changed the locks to his apartment and changed his ignition. When confronted by Jefferson, Pierre denied everything. Sometime during the hours of 10:00 PM on Thursday, October 4th and 4:00 AM on Friday, October 5th, Jefferson was murdered with a bayonet.

The perpetrator of that crime had jammed the long knife with such ferocity into Jefferson's face and head, that only the handle could be seen. After interviewing dozens of witnesses, and after researching the name of 'Curtis Alexander,' Detective Don Moore came to the conclusion that Pierre had murdered Jefferson.

However, there wasn't enough evidence to arrest or convict Pierre. The case remained unsolved until he, and William Andrews, were brought to trial for the Hi Fi Shop murders.

William Andrews was born in Virginia in 1953. His childhood was basically normal, and William, by all accounts, was a well behaved child. He joined the Air Force in 1973 and was also assigned to Hill Air Force Base as a mechanic for helicopters. At Hill, the two men became friends, against all odds.

None of the other Air Force men wanted to be friends with Pierre, because of his attitude and sullen ways. On the other hand, Andrews had quite a few friends, but these friends drifted away when Andrews became close with Pierre. In March 1974, both men filed for separation from the Air Force. To their commanding officer, it seemed that Andrews was basically a follower, and that Pierre, with his uncontrollable rage, was the leader.

 


Hi-Fi Torture Victim Dies 28 Years Later

Glen Warchol - The Salt Lake Tribune

July 15, 2002

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.

Naisbitt, who 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.

His father, 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.

Selby and 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 basement.

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.

Although Orren 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.

Selby was 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.

After Andrews' 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?"

In an 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 live.

"The doctors, 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."

Kinder said Naisbitt's survival was a testimony to the support he received from his family, church and community, particularly his father Byron Naisbitt.

"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."

Naisbitt later 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."

When Kinder, 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 punishment.

"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 him."

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."


802 F.2d 1282

Dale S. PIERRE, a/k/a Dale Selby, Petitioner-Appellant, Cross-Appellee,
v.
Kenneth V. SHULSEN, Warden of the Utah State Prison, and
David L. Wilkinson, Attorney General of the State
of Utah, Respondents-Appellees, Cross-Appellants.

Nos. 85-1021, 85-1082.

United States Court of Appeals,
Tenth Circuit.

Oct. 6, 1986.
Rehearing Denied in No. 85-1021 Nov. 3, 1986.

Before McKAY, McWILLIAMS, and SEYMOUR, Circuit Judges.

SEYMOUR, Circuit Judge.

Dale Selby, a/k/a Dale S. Pierre,1 appeals from an order of the United States District Court for the District of Utah dismissing a habeas corpus petition challenging the constitutionality of his death sentence. See Selby v. Shulsen, 600 F.Supp. 432 (D.Utah 1984). We affirm.

Dale Pierre and William Andrews were convicted in Utah state court on three counts of first degree murder and two counts of aggravated robbery. The two men were sentenced to death for each of the murder convictions. Further facts and procedural history appear in the companion case of Andrews v. Shulsen, 802 F.2d 1256, 1258-60 (10th Cir.1986), which we have filed together with this decision. Although we have considered and rejected most of Pierre's arguments in the course of deciding Andrews,2 he raises two additional issues that warrant brief discussion.

Pierre argues first that the statutory scheme under which he and Andrews were convicted and sentenced impermissibly shifted the burden of proof to defendants in the penalty phase of their case, thereby resulting in the imposition of mandatory death sentences. The State's threshold response based upon procedural default in the state courts is mistaken; Pierre has preserved this claim. See Selby, 600 F.Supp. at 433 n. 1.

We have considered the merits of Pierre's argument in connection with an assessment of the Utah statutory scheme as a whole and have implicitly rejected it. See Andrews, 802 F.2d at 1261-62. We further agree with and adopt the district court's express treatment of this issue. See Selby, 600 F.Supp. at 433-34. The Utah statute imposes no unconstitutional burden upon defendants in capital cases.

Pierre also argues that the use of certain expert testimony at the penalty phase of his trial violated his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, citing Estelle v. Smith, 451 U.S. 454, 101 S.Ct. 1866, 68 L.Ed.2d 359 (1981). The expert, Dr. Louis G. Moench, was a psychiatrist originally appointed by the trial judge at the request of Pierre's trial counsel to perform a pretrial competency examination.

At the sentencing hearing, Dr. Moench testified for the State that Pierre could distinguish right from wrong, that his ability to do so was unimpaired by any apparent mental disease or defect, that his mental condition had not changed significantly between the time of the crime and the examination, and that Pierre was of average intelligence and able to assist in preparing his defense. See rec., vol. XVI, state trial rec., vol. T-23, at 4134-37.

Pierre had not been advised that he had a right to remain silent during Dr. Moench's competency examination. However, Dr. Moench repeated nothing that had been said during that examination but only stated the expert opinions he had formed.

The district court erred in electing to treat this claim on the merits. Pierre's failure to present the issue on direct appeal as required by Utah law, see Andrews v. Morris, 607 P.2d 816, 819-20 (Utah), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 891, 101 S.Ct. 254, 66 L.Ed.2d 120 (1980), or on collateral attack in the state courts, constitutes a procedural default that is governed by the cause and prejudice test.3 See Reed v. Ross, 468 U.S. 1, 104 S.Ct. 2901, 2907-08, 82 L.Ed.2d 1 (1984).

Without deciding the question of cause, we conclude that Pierre suffered no actual prejudice from Dr. Moench's testimony, which was carefully limited by the trial judge to the doctor's general conclusions and constituted only two pages of the sentencing transcript. Under the circumstances here, the testimony cannot fairly be characterized as tending to establish an aggravating circumstance that would counsel in favor of the death penalty. See generally Andrews, 802 F.2d at 1261-62 (Utah provides for weighing of aggravating and mitigating circumstances to determine appropriate sentence in capital cases).

At most, Dr. Moench's testimony might have negated mitigating evidence offered to show that Pierre did not fully comprehend the wrongfulness of his conduct. But Pierre offered no such evidence. His mental condition at the time of the murders and thereafter was never disputed. He neither pleaded an insanity defense nor introduced evidence of diminished mental capacity during the penalty phase.

There is thus no basis for concluding that the jury might have decided upon a sentence of life imprisonment rather than death had the challenged testimony been excluded. The overwhelming evidence of aggravating circumstances in this case, see generally Andrews, 802 F.2d at 1258-60, coupled with a paucity of mitigating evidence, confirms this conclusion. Dr. Moench's testimony was not prejudicial.

For the reasons stated in this opinion, we affirm the judgment of the district court denying Pierre's petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Because this is a capital case, when the final order of this court is entered, following the consideration of any rehearing petition that may be filed, we will stay our mandate and the execution of Pierre's death warrant for 30 days pending the filing of a petition for certiorari in the Supreme Court of the United States. If a petition for certiorari is filed within such time, then the stay of our mandate and of petitioner's execution will continue until disposition by the Supreme Court of the petition for certiorari.

*****

1

Selby filed his federal habeas petition as "Dale S. Pierre." He had been known throughout the state trial and state appeals as Mr. Pierre. Somewhere during the federal habeas proceedings, his attorney began referring to him as Mr. Selby. Because of the trial record and the state court cases, we will refer to defendant as "Pierre"

2

Andrews addresses the following claims that have also been raised by Pierre: (1) that Utah denied the two men a fair and impartial jury trial; (2) that the Utah capital punishment statute is unconstitutional; (3) that the statute has resulted in the arbitrary and capricious imposition of the death penalty; (4) that the Utah Supreme Court unconstitutionally declined to apply one of its precedents retroactively; (5) that Utah's provision for execution before a firing squad violates the Establishment Clause; and (6) that this method of execution constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. The disposition of these claims in Andrews controls here

3

Pierre also asserts that Dr. Moench's testimony violated his Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Because we agree with the district court that this argument lacks all merit, see Selby, 600 F.Supp. at 436 & n. 3, it is "unnecessary in such a situation to inquire whether [Pierre] preserved his claim before the state courts." See Engle v. Isaac, 456 U.S. 107, 120 n. 19, 102 S.Ct. 1558, 1567 n. 19, 71 L.Ed.2d 783 (1982)

 

 

 
 
 
 
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