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Former Ogden police officer recalls ‘Hi-Fi murders’ on 50th anniversary

By Ryan Aston - | Apr 25, 2024

Standard-Examiner file photo

In this photo from July 27, 1988, convicted Hi-Fi killer William Andrews is escorted from court.

OGDEN — Monday marked the 50th anniversary of one of the most notorious crimes in Utah’s history. On April 22, 1974, what came to be known as the “Hi-Fi murders” occurred at the Hi-Fi Shop, then located on Washington Boulevard in Ogden.

The crime, which began as a robbery of the electronics store, resulted in the deaths of three people — Michelle Ansley (age 18), Carol Naisbitt (52) and Stanley Walker (20). Two others — Orren Walker (43, Stanley’s father) and Cortney Naisbitt (16, Carol’s son) — were tortured alongside the other victims and suffered life-altering injuries as a result.

George Throckmorton, who retired from his four-decade career in law enforcement in 2006 and now lives in the Salt Lake area, investigated the crime scene for the Ogden Police Department. And despite his many years of experience and all that he encountered along the way, the case continues to stand out as “the worst” he ever saw.

“The feeling more than anything else, the darkness,” Throckmorton told the Standard-Examiner when asked what has stuck with him about investigating the basement where the violence occurred.

“The atmosphere that was there, knowing these people were tortured, not knowing all of the details at the time. When you’re out of the scene and you get back to the laboratory or out in the street or other places, you’ve got other things to distract you. But down there, there was nothing to distract us.”

Standard-Examiner file photo

Stanley Orren Walker, Sherry Michelle Ansley and Carol Naisbitt were murdered April 22, 1974, at the Hi-Fi Stereo Shop on Washington Boulevard in Ogden.

Ansley and Stanley Walker were both on shift that evening as employees of the Hi-Fi Shop when two men — later identified as Dale Selby Pierre and William Andrews, airmen at Hill Air Force Base — entered the store and brandished firearms.

The men moved Ansley and Walker to the basement, bound them and proceeded to rob the store. As the crime was playing out, Cortney Naisbitt came to the store to thank Walker for allowing him to park in front of the store as he ran errands. He subsequently was taken to the basement and bound alongside the others.

Later, Carol Naisbitt and Orren Walker arrived at the store looking for their loved ones, who had not returned home as expected. They, too, were taken hostage in the store’s basement.

In an attempt to eliminate the witnesses, Andrews forced them to drink liquid Drano. When that failed to kill them, Pierre shot each hostage in the head. Ansley also was raped by Pierre before being shot. Although Ansley, Carol Naisbitt and Stanley Walker ultimately died as a result of the gunshots, Orren Walker and Cortney Naisbitt survived the ordeal.

Pierre had attempted to ensure Orren’s death by shooting at him multiple times, strangling him and also stomping a pen into his ear, the aftermath of which Throckmorton can still recall vividly.

Standard-Examiner file photo

This 1992 photo shows an execution chamber at the Utah State Prison maximum security facility. Despite multiple attempts at appeals, convicted Hi-Fi killer William Andrews was executed by lethal injection July 30 at 1:45 a.m.

“As I pulled in over there, many in the police department were there and so forth, and this guy was running around out in the parking lot in the back with a pen stuck in his ear,” he recalled. “I thought, ‘What in the world is going on?'”

Throckmorton would spend the better part of a full day performing his initial investigation of the crime scene, which was discovered hours after the perpetrators had left.

“Me and another technician spent 18 hours processing the scene over there at the Hi-Fi Shop in the basement, and the victims, and taking as many pictures as we could, and picking up as much evidence as we could,” he said.

The investigation ultimately led authorities to the air base, where personal items belonging to some of the victims were found in a dumpster. A tip from an Air Force employee and Pierre’s possible involvement in an auto theft ring police also were investigating led them to him and Andrews.

As the initial search of the barracks was being completed, Throckmorton says he was compelled to search under one of the bunks before leaving the scene.

“We moved the bunk over on the other side of the room. I went down and I picked up the corner of the rug,” he said. “I picked up the rug and the carpet that was on the floor. In between that and the padding was a piece of paper folded up.”

It turned out to be a lease agreement, signed by Pierre, with a storage facility located near the Hi-Fi Shop. Electronics that were traced back to the store were later discovered during a search of the storage unit.

Pierre and Andrews subsequently were arrested. Another airman, Keith Roberts — who was involved as a driver — also was arrested during the weeks that followed.

All three men were charged with murder; Pierre (who later changed his name) and Andrews were convicted and executed by lethal injection in 1987 and 1992, respectively. Roberts was acquitted of murder but ended up serving almost 13 years in prison on two counts of aggravated robbery.

Despite all he endured, Orren Walker was able to testify against Pierre and Andrews. He died in 2000 at the age of 69. Cortney Naisbitt died two years later at the age of 44. Roberts committed suicide in 1992 at the age of 38.

Now, all that remains are the memories.

“This was the worst thing I’ve ever seen, really. And I’ve seen some weird scenes, especially in Ogden,” Throckmorton said.


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