A Seattle-based attorney for Hi Fi Shop killer William Andrews still has a few aces up his sleeve, despite recent judicial setbacks that have pushed Andrews precariously close to execution.
Timothy K. Ford, Seattle, has filed a memorandum in U.S. District Court for Utah asking that Judge David K. Winder lift a previous order barring Ford from talking to jurors who found Andrews guilty in the April 22, 1974, torture and murder of three people in the basement of the Ogden Hi Fi Shop.In an interview, Ford declined to give his reasons for the request. But it's no secret that one of Ford's major issues on appeal has to do with a note written on a napkin and slipped to jurors during the trial that said "Hang the niggers."
Winder prohibited Ford from interviewing the jurors when he argued in federal court that the note tainted them. But Ford may now wants to revisit the question with new appeals, as the case is drawing to a close. He may also want to raise the issue when Andrews appears before the Utah Board of Pardons to ask that his death sentence be commuted to life in prison.
But Associate Deputy Utah Attorney General Paul M. Warner said the state opposes Ford's request, which was included in a memorandum stating the defense attorney would not contest the state's motion to lift the stay of execution.
"He's suggesting that if the court lifts the stay, he also dissolves all previous orders of the court, including the one prohibiting them from contacting the jurors," Warner said. "It's our position that our motion to lift the stay is limited to just that."
Neither side is requesting oral arguments on the motion, so Winder will rule once he gets a responsive memorandum to Ford's motion from the attorney general.
Ford also said he anticipates the Utah Supreme Court will stay Andrews' execution so the justices will have ample time to review a new appeal. Ford filed the new claim in 3rd District Court, arguing Andrews' death sentence should be overturned because his original trial attorney was incompetent and did not instruct the jurors that they could have found Andrews guilty of second-degree murder, which could not have resulted in the death penalty. Judge David Young rejected that argument, and Ford appealed to the Utah Supreme Court.
The Utah justices recently denied Ford's request for a stay because there is currently no execution date. Ford said it is unfortunate the justices saw it that way, but he believes a stay will be entered after the state obtains a new death warrant.
"It's an issue of considerable substance," Ford said. "They (the justices) have already said they would review the lower court ruling, so I assume they wouldn't review it after the execution has taken place."
Once Winder lifts the stay, prosecutors will return to 2nd District Judge John Wahlquist to request a new death warrant setting an execution date within 30 to 60 days.
Pierre Dale Selby, Andrews' accomplice and the man who actually fired the shots that killed the victims, was executed last August.