Victim by Gary Kinder

I first heard about the “Hi-Fi murders” that occurred in my home town when William Andrews was executed at the Utah State prison in 1992. I vaguely remember hushed whisperings about it when I was younger, but not enough to pay attention. I remember watching protesters on the news when Andrews was executed and asking my mother about it. That’s when she told me about happened at the Hi-Fi shop on April 22, 1974. What she told me gave me nightmares for years to come.

I won’t bother going into the gory details of that gruesome night. If you’re curious, or have never heard of this case, you can look it up on Wikipedia. What I liked about his book is that it focused on the victims of this crime and not the perpetrators. This book mainly focuses on the Naisbitt family, specifically Cortney and his recovery. Cortney’s mother, Carol, was killed in the attack and he miraculously survived. But he was never the same after being forced to drink Drano and shot in the back of the head.

Cortney’s survival and recovery was truly a miracle. I had known that Cortney, and Orren Walker, was one of the survivors, I just never knew until I read this book what he had to endure to be able to ever walk out of the hospital again. His story of endurance made me realize we can conquer anything in this life. Cortney went on to graduate high school with his class, get married, and become autonomous from his family. Sadly, he died at the age of 44 in 2002.

It was weird reading about my home town being described in vivid detail. I could pictures all the streets Kinder talked about, the University I attended, the high school my husband graduated from. I had an epiphany while reading the book and it was something that struck me to my core…Cortney’s sister is my friend’s mother. I’ve gone to school with her since kindergarten, and she never once spoke about her family being involved in this tragedy. I know they were an intensely private family regarding this issue, but because she had a different last name I never put two and two together. When I figured this out one night while I was reading, I literally could not sleep. How could you know someone for 28 years and not know something like this about their family?

This book was written 8 year after the heinous crimes, so it is an older book. It has now been 37 years since this tragedy happened. With Cortney’s death his father Byron wished that it would be the end of the Hi-Fi story. For their family I hope it is. But I can’t help but shudder every time I drive past where the Hi-Fi shop used to be on Washington Blvd. because I know the absolute evil that took place on that ground.