The FAQ: The Murder of Anastasia WitbolsFeugen
Why did Anastasia go to meet Justin Bruton at a cemetery?
At the time of Anastasia's murder, one of the big mysteries was why she would choose to meet her boyfriend, Justin Bruton, at such an inconvenient spot as the Nelson Chapel 1 in Mt. Washington Cemetery,2 three miles from her house and a quarter-mile trek from the gate. Her killer contended at his trial that it was Anastasia who chose the spot as a meeting place.3 According testimony of the State's eyewitness, it was always Case's plan to meet at that cemetery and at that location.4 In an email to Anastsasia's family only months after the murder, Case conceded that he couldn't really remember whose choice it was, though he immediately tried to minimize its importance:Top of page
Fewer than 12 weeks after the Anastasia's murder, Byron Case claimed that he could not remember its salient details, that he could not remember whether it was Anastasia or Justin who initiated the meeting, and that he considered it an unimportant detail. When it was to his advantage to do so at his trial, however, he claimed that he could remember those details quite clearly.Subject: Still More Answers Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 14:00:58 -0600 >> From what Anastasia told Francesca before leaving >> that Justin had called her earlier in the day and >> asked her to meet him at Mt. Washington, not the >> other way around. Anastasia may have called Justin ... Justin may have called Anastasia. I honestly don't recall. It is a moot point ... either way they talked to each other.5
It does not make logical sense for Anastasia to have chosen such a meeting place: if it were she who was trying to convince a reluctant Justin to meet her, it is not reasonable to believe that meeting at a place only marginally closer to his home would overcome that reluctance.
For the record, the shortest route from Justin's condominium to Anastasia's home was approximately 12.5 miles, while a trip from his place to the Nelson Mausoleum -- including the quarter-mile from the gate to the mausoleum itself -- would shave barely two miles from it. Further, since Anastasia did not have a car of her own, it also makes no reasonable or logical sense for her to offer to meet Justin anywhere if that meant that she would still have had to make her own arrangements for a ride to get there, an uncertain prospect at that time, and hope that Justin would then pick her up. Also, the exceptional anger she displayed at Justin's failure to meet her as promised 6 is a strong clue that it was Justin who had invited her.
In short, the reasonable conclusion is that if Anastasia had wanted to meet Justin, she would have either asked him to pick her up at her own home, or she would have made arrangements for a ride all the way to his condo, or at least to the Plaza area where he lived. There is no reason for her to have requested he meet her at Mt. Washington.
It only makes sense for Justin to have made the call and asked Anastasia to meet him in that a secluded spot if we consider Case's ulterior motive in play. In fact, the only way that meeting at the cemetery makes any sense is to place it within the context of Case's plan, in which case it makes perfect sense, had everything gone according to plan: have her travel on her own to a secluded part of the cemetery, commit the crime there, dump her body in a convenient ravine, and then claim when questioned to have spent the entire evening at Justin's condo. No witnesses. No evidence. It could have been the perfect crime.
On that subject, Byron Case has never been able to offer any logical explanation for why, after having picked her up at a nearby Dairy Queen, they later returned to the exact same spot in Mt. Washington7 some time later, and even harder to explain in light of the evidence that they had already taken Anstasia back to her home before going to Mt. Washington.8