The FAQ: The Murder of Anastasia WitbolsFeugen
Was DNA or other forensic evidence used in the murder investigation?
Anastasia's killer, Byron Case, has noted, and his supporters have echoed that note many times, that no DNA evidence was found linking him to the crime of Anastasia's murder. In this case, their statement is absolutely true, that no DNA evidence was presented at trial. However, the issue is itself irrelevant.Top of page
In the case of DNA evidence, it was of no use in this murder. DNA evidence can identify a killer by identifying the victim's blood on the killer's clothing or other effects if it had splattered during the act, or the killer's blood underneath the fingernails of a victim who had struggled, or a rapist's semen; DNA evidence taken at the scene of Justin Bruton's death confirmed from hair samples that Anastasia had recently been inside of Justin's car, but that was already known and of little real use.
According to eyewitness testimony, Case stood about two to three feet away when he shot Anastasia with a long-barrelled weapon,1and forensic evidence showed that Anastasia had not struggled with Case, nor had she even attempted to cover up from the fatal shot (indicated by no defensive wounds and no tearing or disarray of clothing).2 It also strongly suggested that a long-barrelled weapon (a rifle or slug-throwing shotgun as opposed to a small-calibre handgun) was used,3 giving little likelihood that Case would be splattered with the victim's blood. In short, it was unlikely that any DNA was shared between killer and victim.
This forensic evidence, however, was important in that it made clear the extreme unlikeliness of Anastasia having been attacked by a random killer, and also the equal unlikeliness of her having been killed with a .22 handgun.
It should also be noted that while Case and his supporters wish to make a large issue of the lack of DNA evidence, they are virtually silent on the evidence that was used in the trial, most notably his own tacit confession.4