Sherry Michelle Ansley's mother says her daughter wasn't given a chance to live, so neither should the Utah Board of Pardons spare William Andrews' life.
"Let him join his companion in hell," Laura Sword wrote in a letter to the pardons board about the aggravated robbery in 1974 of Ogden's Hi Fi Shop in which her daughter and two other people were killed.Andrews and Pierre Dale Selby were convicted of capital homicide nearly 15 years ago for the slayings, during which Ansley was raped. Selby was executed by lethal injection in 1987 for his part in the crime.
Andrews, 34, asked the board on Thursday and Friday to commute his death sentence to life imprisonment. Barring clemency or a judicial stay, Andrews is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Aug. 22.
The board will make a ruling
within a week, chairman H.L. Haun said at the conclusion of the hearing. Clemency requires a majority vote of the three-member panel.
The victims of the robbery on April 22, 1974, were the focus of Friday's proceeding as the state presented evidence and arguments that the pardons board should leave Andrews' death sentence intact.
In testimony on Thursday, Andrews told the board he never intended for anyone to be killed during the robbery.
But Orren Walker, who was forced by Andrews and Selby to drink caustic liquid drain cleaner, received a superficial gunshot wound and had a ball point pen kicked into his ear during the episode, recalls the circumstances differently.
"When I got down there the kids were pleading for their lives," he said.
Walker recalled Ansley's begging, "I'm just 19, I don't want to die."
Courtney Naisbitt's plea was nearly identical, "I'm young, I don't want to die."
Although a witness Thursday described Andrews as a model inmate, the state presented testimony that Andrews in 1985 and 1986 was one of 11 inmates planning an elaborate escape from the maximum-security unit of the prison.
Early in 1986, corrections officials discovered that dozens of cell bars in the maximum-security unit had been severed. "We had 50 cut bars compromising virtually every security system we had," said Tom House, a corrections employee.
Andrews was linked to the escape attempt because a toothpaste tube containing hacksaw blades was found in his cell. Andrews, testifying on rebuttal, denied any participation in the plan.
In his closing arguments, special prosecutor Robert Wallace told the board that there was nothing rare or extraordinary about Andrews' case that warranted granting him clemency.
He urged the board members not to compare Andrews' participation with that of Selby's, who admitted to firing the fatal shots.
Instead, the board must apply the evidence to the death-penalty standards established in the law and developed by the Legislature.
"Death (penalty) is appropriate under these circumstances," Wallace said.
Defense attorney Robert Anderson said Andrews has suffered enough inequity throughout the history of his trial and appeals. He does not deserve to die, he said.
"I would say to you life imprisonment is appropriate for Andrews. Death (was) appropriate for Selby," he said.
Walker on Friday said that executing Andrews would do little to help him put the matter to rest.
Among the dead was Walker's 20-year-old son, Stanley.
Although Walker said he's been able to piece his life back together, Stanley's death has had a profound affect on his wife, Joyce. He said Andrews' execution may indeed help Joyce Walker, who he testified has been emotionally debilitated by their son's slaying.
"She's been more frightful of Andrews than I," Walker said, recalling how Andrews raised his fist towards them at the conclusion of the penalty hearing during which Andrews and Selby were sentenced to die for their crimes.
Walker described the change in his wife's behavior following the incident. Before the boy's slaying, he said, Joyce Walker played an active role in family life, including the construction of a family cabin.
"The first time we went to the cabin after Stanley's death, of course, she was disturbed. It brought back a lot of memories. She wouldn't get out of the truck."