The Case

Breaking down the facts

According to Byron Case's ex-girlfriend Kelly Moffett, she'd been lying for a long time. She claimed she'd lied to her family, the police, and herself for three and a half years. Only after getting immunity from any charges did she tell what she called the truth. Suddenly everything that she and Byron had said about the night of October 22, 1997, became "the lie."

Several hours after the night in question, Sheriff's Deputy David Epperson did an early-morning patrol of Lincoln Cemetery. Nearly half a mile into the cemetery he saw the body of a young white female on the ground. Her face showed a large wound. Her eyes were open. Her skin was bluish gray and cool to the touch. She was dead.

The woman was identified as Anastasia WitbolsFeugen, an 18-year-old whose home in Independence, Missouri, was just a couple of miles away. The Jackson County Sheriff's Department immediately tried to question everybody who last saw her, including the teenagers Byron Case and Kelly Moffett, who were a couple at the time, and Anastasia's on-and-off boyfriend, 20-year-old Justin Bruton.

Byron and Kelly were interviewed separately on October 24. Both of them described to Sheriff's officers the same events.

Sometime between 5:00 and 5:30 p.m. on October 22, Justin and Byron picked up Kelly to hang out. Justin and Anastasia were supposed to meet, but Justin drove from Kelly's house to a pay phone nearby and called to cancel those plans.

Anastasia's sister Francesca answered the phone. According to her, Anastasia got a ride to Mount Washington Cemetery (across the street from Lincoln Cemetery) and was already waiting there for Justin. Justin got back to his condo with Byron and Kelly at around 6:00 p.m. Anastasia called a few minutes later. Justin agreed to go pick her up, with Byron and Kelly along for the ride.

Justin and their friends picked her up at a Dairy Queen across from Mount Washington Cemetery. Anastasia was angry about Justin blowing her off. She insisted the two of them talk in private. Justin agreed to drive into Mount Washington, where the other couple could go for a walk while he and Anastasia sorted out their issues.

Right after they pulled in, a car approached from behind and flashed its headlights. It was the cemetery manager, closing up for the night. With nowhere else to go, they headed for Justin's condo.

While they were stopped at a light on Truman Rd. at I-435, Anastasia turned and asked Justin why he didn't love her anymore. He told her, "I just don't."

Even more upset than before, she opened the car door and stormed back in the direction they'd just driven from, the direction of her house. No one tried to stop her. When the light turned green Justin continued his drive home.

Kelly got home between 8:45 and 9:00 that night. From her house, Justin called the WitbolsFeugens' land line and talked with Francesca again. He seemed worried that Anastasia wasn't home yet. Still, he and Byron stopped in to see two other friends before 10 p.m., which was when Justin dropped Byron off for the night.

The next morning at around 9 o'clock, Byron woke up to a phone call from Justin, who wanted to meet for breakfast. Byron had stayed up late on the computer and talking on the phone with Kelly. He told Justin he was too tired and would call him later. This was one of the last two conversations we know Justin had.

Sheriff's deputies in Kansas found Justin's body behind an abandoned warehouse two days later. The shotgun he used to shoot himself lay in his lap. He'd bought the gun a little more than an hour after talking to Byron, and about an hour before Missouri authorities identified Anastasia's body.

Over the next few years, Byron and Kelly told the same version of what happened. In early 2000, the couple broke up and Kelly's drug use got worse. Soon she started using crack cocaine. Her behavior got so bad that her parents kicked her out. She checked into rehab a few times, but always refused to complete treatment. Instead, she went back to living in crack houses.

Byron was the last person who still felt any sympathy for her. She took advantage by sleeping on his couch, using his shower, and begging him for money when no one else would help. That changed in September of 2000. Byron was planning a move to St. Louis and wouldn't give her his contact information there.

Six days after he left Kansas City, Kelly was in the Jackson County Prosecutors Office accusing Byron of murder. The deal she worked out was to testify that she saw him shoot Anastasia.

Prosecutors wanted Kelly to get a tape recording that made Byron sound guilty. They set up a tape recorder on her phone line and gave her his number in St. Louis. She tried for months, but he avoided her calls.

She finally caught him by surprise on June 5, 2001, when he was sick in bed with a 103° F fever. She asked why he "felt the need to kill her" (meaning Anastasia), and he didn't directly respond. From how the recording sounds, Byron likely didn't even hear her, but prosecutors decided it was good enough to put him on trial.

On May 2, 2002, in spite of the evidence and testimonies showing Kelly's story to be one big lie, a jury found Byron guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action. He has been serving a sentence of life in prison, with no possibility for parole, ever since.

Join us today in helping right the wrong and freeing Byron Case!