News & Campaign History
For a closer look inside the campaign to free Byron Case, visit our Facebook community for all the latest goings-on.
September 17, 2013
Byron's first book, The Pariah's Syntax: Notes from an Innocent Man, is published. The 172-page paperback is a collection of personal essays and poems that Byron has written since his imprisonment, and 100% of the royalties from its sale benefit the FBC campaign. Click here to get your copy of this affecting, lyrical, even funny collection and support a good cause.
June 27, 2013
An afternoon in the park for Byron, for justice. Some hometown supporters spend a few hours of their Sunday at Kansas City's Mill Creek Park, displaying "FREE BYRON CASE" signs and talking about Byron's wrongful conviction with passersby. Watch the one-minute YouTube video here.
April 4, 2013
Supporter Janette Mochnacz, with the founder of defrostingcoldcases.com and Nancy Petro, author and contributing editor to the wrongful convictions blog, take part in a Twitter chat on the topic of wrongful convictions. A recap of this chat can be found here.
March 23, 2013
Evelyn Case and supporters hold the "Break For Justice" Pool Tournament and Fundraiser at Larry's Getaway in Blue Spring, MO. Tournament participants and patrons spent the afternoon educating themselves on Byron's case, showing off their pool skills, indulging in homemade baked goods, and testing their luck with the prize raffle.
We would like to thank the following businesses and people for their support:
- Larry's Getaway
- Kansas City Royals
- Bella Napoli
- Soul Fire Tattoo
- redbat design
- Author, Davy Rothbart
- Caricature Artist, Javier Gonzales
March 20, 2013
Traci Williams and Valarie Vogel appear on KKFI's "Wednesday Midday Medley." Thanks to Mark Manning, host of the show, for offering FBC the opportunity to speak to the greater Kansas City area about our cause!
March 14, 2013
KCXL radio's Darren Smith invites active FBC campaigners Traci Williams and Valarie Vogel onto his morning talk show, "Junk in My Trunk," to discuss Byron's case, the campaign, and our upcoming "Break for Justice" fundraiser.
February 9, 2013
"Free Byron Case" T-shirts go on sale. Designed by Winston Smith, one of Byron's favorite contemporary artists, these eye-catching shirts are sure to be conversation-starters. Winston Smith's surreal collages may be best known from the album covers of the Dead Kennedys and Ben Harper & Relentless Seven, as well as from books by independent investigative journalist Greg Pallast. Click here to have your FBC shirt sent right away. All proceeds benefit the fight to restore Byron's rightful freedom.
February 5 - 7, 2013
Accepting an invitation to participate in an event organized by Bill Windsor, for his Lawless America film project, Evelyn Case travels to Washington, D.C., where she delivers congressional testimony about Byron's wrongful conviction and experiences within the legal system. She and Byron's uncle, David Cummings, meet with U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, of Missouri, to discuss the political aspects of FBC's work toward getting Byron pardoned by Governor Nixon.
November 21, 2012
Damien Echols sends an FBC link to his 20,000-plus Twitter followers. Thank you so much, Damien! All of us in the campaign to free Byron are grateful for your support (especially Byron himself, who is a longtime believer in the innocence of the West Memphis Three).
November 6, 2012
A full 20% of the crowd at Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's Election Day rally in Kansas City wear "Free Byron Case" shirts and carry signs, urging the governor to grant Byron a pardon. Evelyn Case is present and actually shakes the governor's hand, looks him in the eye, and introduces herself as "the mother of Byron Case." It's an inspiring spur-of-the-moment turnout by Byron's hometown supporters, as well as a precious, rare opportunity to make ourselves known to the state's highest officeholder.
October 12, 2012
Evelyn Case and two other supporters attend the Kansas City signing of Damien Echols's new memoir, Life After Death. The event is held in conjunction with a fundraiser for the Midwest Innocence Project, and many advocates for the wrongfully convicted are in attendance. Byron's supporters hand out cards for this site, speak with many people about Byron's case, and even chat briefly with the man of the hour, Damien Echols, perhaps best recognized as one of the recently freed West Memphis Three.
September 4, 2012
Davy Rothbart, creator of FOUND Magazine, contributor to National Public Radio's This American Life, and author of The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas, publishes his first book of personal essays, My Heart Is an Idiot. In it, he writes with his typical mix of humor and heart — about picking up hitchhikers, about searching for the love of his life, about his outrageous adventures on the road as he crisscrosses America. One of the essays in this book (the one the New Yorker magazine called the book's strongest) tells of how Davy learned of Byron's case, and the friendship that developed between them as Davy put his journalistic skills toward finding out the truth.
August 4, 2012
Blogtalk Radio's "The Other Side of Justice" features an hourlong podcast about Byron's case. Byron himself was scheduled to be interviewed by host Vince Hill, but after an issue with the prison's phone system the interview proceeded with Evelyn Case instead. Mr. Hill wants to do a follow-up podcast, once he investigates the case in greater depth. His support of the FBC campaign is obvious by his signature on our petition for Byron's pardon by Missouri Governor Nixon.
May 30, 2012
The John Darlington podcast on Blogtalk Radio features an hourlong conversation with Byron. The interview is mostly about Byron's writing, but the two also discuss how the Skeptical Juror book came to be, as well as what the current focus of the FBC campaign is about. The show should be archived indefinitely, so even if you missed the live stream, you can still listen by clicking the link just above.
redbat design gives FreeByronCase.com a fresh new look and some much-needed reorganization, featuring closer integration with the FBC community on Facebook, a new photo gallery, and more intuitive document presentation.
March 21, 2012
Byron's blog, The Pariah's Syntax, can now be reached via the simpler and easier-to-remember URL www.pariahblog.com.
Byron's first published account of his experience at trial, "The Verdict," appears in the bestselling Harper Perennial anthology The Moment.
October 21, 2011
Evelyn Case and two of Byron's supporters meet with Bill Kurtis, host of the A&E television series "Cold Case," to talk about the FBC campaign and present him with a copy of the Skeptical Juror book. Kurtis expresses an interest and remarks that "Cold Case" is now, in fact, producing episodes about cases of wrongful conviction.
October 2, 2011
The Skeptical Juror, J. Bennett Allen, submits a detailed letter of support for Byron's pardon application to Missouri's Office of the Governor. In it, Allen discusses the forensic and testimonial facts that establish Anastasia WitbolsFeugen's time of death and argues that they collectively prove Kelly Moffett's story of the murder incontrovertibly false. Read the letter here.
August 18, 2011
Byron files his application for executive clemency — a plea for pardon by Governor Jay Nixon. FBC sends press releases to Kansas City's TV news outlets and area papers regarding the application and our online petition in support of it. The Pitch, an alternative weekly that has run stories on Byron's case in the past, faxes a copy to the Midwestern Innocence Project, a local nonprofit that works to liberate the region's wrongfully convicted.
April 5, 2011
The Free Byron Case community on Facebook, where supporters from around the world can discuss the case, brainstorm ways to forward the campaign, and generally share their thoughts, goes live.
March 31, 2011
A petition for the public to voice support of Byron's pardon application is created. Click here to read and sign it.
March 28, 2011
Johnson County Community College assistant professor Ken Sissom invites Evelyn Case to speak at his Wrongful Convictions Class at the Police Academy.
November 15, 2010
The Clerk of the Court issues a denial of Byron's motion. The Court's refusal to hear the case is not unsual and has no bearing on its factual or legal merits.
Another FBC ad appears in FOUND Magazine, this one with a lovely smiling picture of Byron's recent visit with FOUND's Sarah Locke. Thanks again to the generous hearts at FOUND.
October 13, 2010
Byron files a motion for rehearing, imploring the Court to give his petition its due consideration.
October 4, 2010
On the very first day of its new session, the Court issues a denial of Byron's petition for a Writ of Certiorari. Given the content of the petition and the time taken by the Court to deny it, it clearly was one of the 99% of petitions that are denied without being read or considered. This is justice in America: a lottery ticket.
July 29, 2010
The Office of the Missouri Attorney General files a waiver with the Supreme Court, declining to respond to Byron's petition. This is standard practice. If the Court decides to hear the case, Assistant Attorney General Andrew Hassell will still argue against Byron's claims; waiving Missouri's response now does not indicate the State's indifference to the matter.
July 9, 2010
Byron Case v. Larry Denny, Warden is docketed as United States Supreme Court case number 10-5322.
July 1, 2010
Byron files his petition for a Writ of Certiorari from the US Supreme Court. In it, he presents the court four questions, essentially: whether the Eighth Circuit's judgement to deny him a certificate of appealability is in conflict with existing precedent, since the so-called "tacit admission rule" was improperly applied; whether the Eighth Circuit erred in denying Byron's certificate of appealability, based on the violation of his Fifth Ammendment rights when his silence was framed as evidence of guilt; whether the split amongst federal circuit courts on the issue of tacit admission can be allowed to stand; and whether using one's pre-arrest silence as evidence of that person's guilt is indeed unconstitutional. The petition runs to twenty pages.
April 6, 2010
The Eighth Circuit denies Byron's request for a rehearing. His available post-conviction remedies at the state level, procedurally speaking, are now used up. The final remaining procedural option lies in the Supreme Court of the United States. Because only 1% of cases submitted to the Supreme Court are even granted a hearing, the odds are longer than we'd like. Fortunately, even if Byron's petition isn't granted, his "actual innocence claim" under Missouri's Court Rule 91 remains an option, as does an application for clemency by the governor.
March 5, 2010
Byron files his pro se Petition for Rehearing with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, challenging the Court on its obvious failure to comply with the standard of review ("obvious" in that there is no way the Court could have made the required thorough review of the file, given the file's size and the short amount of time the Court took to deny him a Certificate of Appealability).
February 26, 2010
Byron grants his first interview in eight years, appearing live on-air with his mother, to discuss his case, the Skeptical Juror book, the law, and the overall experience of imprisonment. The invitation to appear was from KKFI's Sharon Lockhart, host of the station's "Every Woman" program. Thanks again, Sharon!
February 13, 2010
UMKC's Professor Kowaluk has Evelyn Case again speak to his class about Byron's case, this time with copies of J. Bennett Allen's The Skeptical Juror in-hand for the students.
February 11, 2010
The book The Skeptical Juror and the Trial of Byron Case is available for purchase online from Amazon. At long last, a reasoned and fair assessment of the treatment Byron received in the justice system! See skepticaljuror.com for more information.
November 21, 2009
Evelyn Case is again invited to speak at Professor Gary Kowaluk's Wrongful Convictions class.
October 30, 2009
US District Court judge Gary Kays denies Byron's Certificate of Appealability application. The case is forwarded to the United States Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals for review.
October 26, 2009
Now without the assistance of an attorney to offer legal counsel, Byron files his application for a Certificate of Appealability pro se (on his own).
September 30, 2009
True-crime writer and radio host Burl Barer posts a relatively open-ended piece about Anastasia's murder on his In Cold Blog column. He has not read Judge Kays' opinion nor the petition that prompted it, or else his piece might have been more favorable to Byron.
September 29, 2009
Judge Gary Kays issues a ten-page opinion denying Byron's habeas corpus petition. The single silver lining in this instance lies in the judge's response to Byron's third claim (regarding the admission of his pre-arrest silence as substantive evidence of guilt): Petitioner notes that while neither the Supreme Court nor the Eighth Circuit have ruled on this issue, several Circuits have adopted the Petitioner's view. The Court has reviewed this authority, and it would certainly support his position. [...]Petitioner fails to note that there is strong authority for the opposite conclusion in multiple Circuits as well. [...]This is an interesting issue that may be ripe for review by the Supreme Court, but it is not within this Court's authority to grant habeas relief on the basis of this claim.
July 5, 2009
Evelyn Case appears on Georgia Prisonworld Radio to briefly discuss Byron's wrongful conviction.
June 19, 2009
The traverse to the State's Response to the Order to Show Cause is filed. Now the Court must decide whether to grant Byron a writ of habeas corpus on the merits of the two parties' respective arguments.
June 13, 2009
Evelyn Case returns to Sharon Lockhart's "Every Woman" show, on KKFI community radio, for a second guest appearance to discuss the travesty of her son's case, and her tireless efforts to free him.
May 17, 2009
The Wrongful Convictions class at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, again invites Evelyn Case to speak.
April 16, 2009
Assistant Attorney General Andrew Hassell files the State's rebuttal to Byron's petition, the Response to Order to Show Cause.
March 8, 2009
With substantial content provided by Professor Gary Kowaluk, Byron's petition for a writ of habeas corpus is filed with the United States District Court of the Western District of Missouri, at Kansas City. In it are argued claims of Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment violations, based on the admission into evidence of Byron's so-called "tacit admission," as well as his pre-arrest silence (not actually the same thing, legally speaking), and the trial court's determination that there was sufficient evidence for reasonable jurors to return a guilty verdict.
Issue #6 of FOUND Magazine is published with another ad for FBC. Big thanks to everyone there for their generous support.
September 25, 2008
Evelyn Case and supporters of Byron attend the Midwestern Innocence Project's annual fundraiser and meet with guest speaker, actor Chad Lowe.
July 23, 2008
An article on the unrelated arraignment of Robert WitbolsFeugen, Anastasia's father, is posted to the Pitch website. The article mentions Byron and contains commentary by Evelyn Case. Click here to read it.
July 12, 2008
Evelyn Case speaks about her son's case at Professor Gary Kowaluk's Wrongful Convictions class, at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.
May 21, 2008
The Court of Appeals issues its mandate, finalizing their role in the case. No further state court action can be taken.
April 29, 2008
Motion for rehearing by the Court of Appeals is denied.
April 8, 2008
Byron's wrongful conviction
is the first listing of 2008 for the Innocents in Prison
Stories on the Victims-of-Law website.
February 26, 2008
Postconviction relief is denied by the Court of Appeals, in Byron Case v. State of Missouri.
February 15, 2008
Evelyn Case attends the 2008 MIP (Midwestern Innocence Project) kick-off and volunteer training at Stinson Morrison Hecker Law Firm. The exonerated Dennis Fritz, author of Journey Toward Justice and subject of John Grisham's book The Innocent Man, is the guest speaker.
December 30, 2007
A flier has been made available for download in PDF format to spread the word about freebyroncase.com! The flier may be viewed and downloaded here.
November 19, 2007
FOUND Magazine / PostSecret show held at Screenland in Kansas City, Missouri. A collection is taken up by the FOUND crew for Byron's legal fund. To everyone who gave, and especially to Davy, we send our deepest gratitude.
November 10, 2007
Evelyn Case again speaks by invitation at Professor Gary Kowaluk's UMKC Wrongful Convictions class.
FOUND Magazine issue #5 features an ad for freebyroncase.com. Thanks to Davy Rothbart and all of Byron's supporters at FOUND for this generous donation!
August 22, 2007
Evelyn Case and Michael Myers, a friend of Byron's, are featured on Michael Badnarik's call-in radio program, "Lighting the Fires of Liberty," on Austin, Texas, radio station WTPRN to discuss Byron's case.
August 19, 2007
Evelyn Case appears on the talk portion of "Sunset Reggae" with Sista G to talk about Byron's case at the behest of KKFI's Gabi Otto.
August 18, 2007
Byron's new personal blog, The Pariah's Syntax, goes online, featuring essays, links to Byron's publications, and first-hand accounts of prison life. His MySpace profile is deleted.
May 21, 2007
A post appears on the Pitch group blog that is highly critical of Byron and his MySpace profile. Readers respond overwhelmingly in Byron's defence. The comment feature is eventually disabled by the editors, and Byron writes a response on his blog.
April 15, 2007
Evelyn Case speaks by invitation at Professor Gary Kowaluk's University of Missouri, Kansas City, Wrongful Convictions class.
July 29, 2006
Evelyn Case joins Susan Lockhart on-air to discuss Byron's case and wrongful convictions in general, on KKFI's "Every Woman" call-in show.
June 19, 2006
Guestbook is removed from this site due to continual harassing posts.
June 9, 2006
Davy Rothbart of FOUND Magazine dedicates the Kansas City FOUND show at the Record Bar to Byron.
April 5, 2006
Notice of appeal filed with the Court of Appeals.
March 1, 2006
The circuit court judge, Charles Atwell, who presided over Byron's trial, denies the Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct the Judgement or Sentence (the 29.15 filing).
October 7, 2005
Evidentiary hearing held in the courtroom Byron was tried in. Byron's lawer states that Byron's Fifth Amendment rights were violated by the introduction of the phone conversation between him and Kelly. Since he'd retained an attorney to act as mediator with the Sheriff's Department and they blatantly circumvented that lawyer's involvement, federal precedent favors Byron.
April 29 - May 22, 2005
In conjunction with their production of "The Exonerated," Kansas City's Unicorn Theater presents a month long exhibit of Byron's artwork, "Afterimages: The Digital Catharsis of Byron Case." Thanks to Web, of the Frame Gallery, for providing matting and framing, and to Cynthia Levin, of the Unicorn, for generously providing space. Congratulations, also, to the fine cast for a brilliant series of performances. Their warmth is very much appreciated.
April 5, 2005
Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct the Judgement or Sentence (under Missouri Court Rule 29.15) is filed by Byron's court-appointed lawyer.
August 25, 2004
Missouri Court of Appeals issues its mandate, officially ending the Direct Appeal effort.
August 24, 2004
Byron's application for transfer to the Missouri Supreme Court is denied by the Appeals Court.
June 1, 2004
Motion for rehearing is denied by the Missouri Court of Appeals.
April 13, 2004
In State of Missouri v. Byron Case, the Court of Appeals denies Byron's direct appeal.
September 17, 2003
Oral arguments are held for the direct appeal.
July 10, 2003
Appellant's reply brief is submitted, refuting the State's arguments against Byron's direct appeal brief.
June 30, 2003
Respondent's (State's) brief submitted.
May 7, 2003
Appellant's (Byron's) direct appeal brief submitted.
Evelyn Case and friend, Darlene J. Vermeulen attend an event to launch the Midwest Innocence Project and meet Rubin “The Hurricane” Carter.
July 3, 2002
Notice of Appeal, the first step in the direct appeal process, is filed.
June 28, 2002
Byron is sentenced to one life sentence without possibility of parole, and one life sentence to be served concurrently, at the sentence hearing.
May 2, 2002
Fourth and last day of trial. Byron is found guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action.
May 1, 2002
Third day of trial.
April 30, 2002
Second day of trial.
April 29, 2002
First day of trial.
April 26, 2002
Voir dire proceedings (jury selection) held.
April 25, 2002
Second pretrial hearing is held. Judge Charles Atwell rules on what evidence will be permitted during trial.
April 19, 2002
Pretrial hearing is held to discuss evidence and each party's approximate plan for trial.
July 19, 2001
June 20, 2001
Indictment handed down.