The FAQ: The Murder of Anastasia WitbolsFeugen
Was Anastasia taken anywhere between the
Dairy Queen and Mt. Washington Cemetery?
In their original statements to police, Byron Case and his girlfriend, Kelly Moffett (who would later be the state's eyewitness in Case's trial), stated that they and Justin Bruton picked up Anastasia at a Dairy Queen, drove across the street to Mt. Washington Cemetery, and only stayed there a few minutes. Upon leaving Mt. Washington's north gate, they drove along the east side of that cemetery, and turned west on Truman Road, where Anastsasia got out of the car at the light near Truman and I-435.1Top of page
In Kelly Moffet's September 2000 statement to the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office, they did nearly follow that path, except that they turned off of Truman Road at the now-closed back entrance of Lincoln Cemetery,2 drove up through the back entrance of Lincoln, stopped at a driving circle there, and got out. There she witnessed her then-boyfriend shoot and kill Anastasia with a long-barreled weapon.3
What was not stated in any testimony or police statements, but was extrapolated through evidence, is that Justin did not drive directly from the DQ into Mt. Washington. He drove to Anastasia's house in Independence, and then drove to Mt. Washington. The purpose of the detour to Anastasia's home was to allow Anastasia to change her clothes.
A few days after Anastasia's murder, her family found a pair of light blue jeans and a pair of underwear belonging to Anastasia in the washing machine. As were almost anything that could be hopefully considered helpful evidence, the clothes were turned over to JCSD as evidence, and little thought was given to them for a long time afterward.
Defense witness Dawn Wright testified that she saw Anastasia wearing light blue jeans at the Dairy Queen;4 Wright also testified that Anastasia's menstrual period had started unexpectedly that afternoon, and that she had asked to borrow a feminine hygiene product from Wright,5 that Wright had provided a tampon6 to Anastasia. Wright was specific in her testimony that it was a tampon as opposed to any other product, as it was the only kind she herself used.7
In Anastasia's autopsy, it was noted by the Jackson County Medical Examiner that Anastasia was wearing black denim pants and a sanitary napkin at the time of her murder.8 The sanitary napkin was precisely the kind that Anastasia customarily bought for herself.
Until the pre-trial documents were released to the family following the sentencing of Byron Case, the connection could not be made between the disparate pieces of evidence, as the family was unaware of the discrepancies between Ms. Wright's description and the medical examiner's findings. Those discrepancies are now known, and we can now infer from the "big picture" created from all available evidence that Justin drove Anastasia to her home (no matter what the eventual intent for the evening) in order for her to change clothing, put on the sanitary napkin with which she was comfortable, put her soiled clothing in the wash, and be ready to go out again, where, at Case's suggestion, he drove her back to Mt. Washington, where he had originally planned to kill her.9
What does all this mean? It means that Case's story about going directly from the Dairy Queen into Mt. Washington to find a quiet place for Justin and Anastasaia to speak was untrue. It means that they took Anastasia to her home, where a conversation could have been held or she could have been dropped off, and that it was a deliberate decision to take her back to Mt. Washington, to the same spot they had asked her to meet them earlier. It means that the alibi that Case has always insisted upon, the alibi he convinced his girlfriend to parrot in his support, was always an absolute lie, always had a flaw, because he could never admit about their detour, and would not be able to explain it. It means that he was lying about the murder in every aspect from the very start.
In 2011, Anastasia's killer filed a petition to the Governor of Missouri for a pardon, using a number of arguments that twisted the evidence that had been presented, fabricated new evidence from speculation, and simply ignored damning evidence that he could not refute. One of his supporting documents acknowledged that Anastasia went to her home between the time that she was picked up at the DQ and the time she was murdered, but claims that it proves the speculation that she must have reached home from the spot Case claims to have let her out, and on did so on her own volition. In making such a claim, he speculates on behavior and actions that Anastasia must have taken to do so, showing a willful ignorance of Anastasia's personality and personal history, apparently hoping the intended audience will not know the difference. We choose not to point out on this page what form that ignorance takes, but we have sent our own rebuttal to the Governor's Office.