Barring further court intervention, convicted Hi Fi Shop killer William Andrews will die by lethal injection Sept. 14.
Second District Judge Ronald O. Hyde granted a death warrant Wednesday and set the date after hearing arguments from Andrews' attorneys and a state prosecutor.But the execution date may conflict with an appeal Andrews has pending before the Utah Supreme Court. The court is not expected to hear that appeal until the second week of September.
And Andrews' attorneys are expected to file a motion soon for a stay of execution.
Andrews, one of two men convicted of the brutal torture murders of three people in the Hi Fi Shop in Ogden in 1974, was calm during the hearing and smiled at his attorneys as they talked to him afterward.
Court officials removed Andrews' handcuffs during the hearing.
Hyde ordered Andrews, 33, to die by lethal injection after one of Andrews' attorneys, Tim Ford, said his client refused to choose the method of execution because he believes the death penalty to be unconstitutional.
Andrews' other attorney, Joseph Tesch, argued a death warrant should be denied because of the pending appeal.
The appeal contends Andrews' previous attorney was incompetent because he did not properly inform jurors they could return a verdict of second-degree murder, for which Andrews could not have received the death sentence.
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Andrews' last formal appeal in April.
Tesch also said Andrews' accomplice in the killings, Pierre Dale Selby, told the Board of Pardons before his execution that Andrews did not take part in the killings. Selby was executed by lethal injection last August.
But state prosecutor Sandra Sjogren said no law prohibits a judge from issuing a death warrant when other appeals are pending.
Hyde is hearing the arguments in place of Judge John Wahlquist, who has handled the Hi Fi case for the past 13 years but retired earlier this summer.
Tesch questioned whether Hyde had any conflicts that should disqualify him.
"All I know of the matter is what I read in the newspapers," Hyde said.
Andrews' execution would be the second this year. Convicted child killer Arthur Gary Bishop died by lethal injection in June.