The FAQ: The Murder of Anastasia WitbolsFeugen
What motive did Kelly Moffett have for coming forward?
In the trial of the murder of Anastasia WitbolsFeugen, Byron Case asserted during his testimony that Kelly Moffett was just a "traditional psychotic ex-girlfriend",1 that she was manipulative and vindictive, and that her entire motive for accusing him of murder was to gain revenge for breaking up with her. It has practically become the mantra of many of his supporters to describe her as an "embittered ex-girlfriend with a history of drug use and mental health issues," with little if any real thought or investigation into that claim.Top of page
Let us first examine Case's claims. First, the claim that Moffett was bitter about having broken up with him and had plotted revenge against him has its origin in a story fabricated by Case himself,2 never having been brought up in testimony during the trial, never having been brought up in any of his three appeals.
Which was the case: did Byron Case break up with Kelly Moffett, or was it the other way around? Moffett's trial testimony was that it was she who broke up with him,3 and Case confirmed it in his own testimony.4 They broke up in December 1998 or January 1999, some 21 months before she actually accused him of the murder. She had already admitted to her father in June 2000 that she had witnessed Case commit the murder5 three months before he left for St. Louis in September 2000.6
With the breakup more than one year after Anastasia's murder and nearly two years before his departure, it is not a reasonable assumption to consider Moffett was been "embittered" about the breakup, and it does not provide any such motive for her to accuse him of murder. For the record, she had already first named him as Anastasia's killer three months before she learned that he was leaving Kansas City, and they had broken up about a year and a half before she made that first accusation. As Case once wrote so rather rudely to Anastasia's family,7 do the math.
Kelly Moffett tesified that her major drug problems were a result of the trauma of having witnessed Anastasia's murder, that she had thought she would be able to talk about it confidentially to a professional,(8) and only came forward to police when she found there was no other choice.
As far as her "history of drug use and mental health issues", she admitted using recreational drugs before having witnessed the murder, but that her use became chronic only after October 22, 1997.9 Case attempted to gain access to her mental health records10 in an effort to "prove" that she was a "chronic, pathological liar",11 but the judge in the case refused such access after having viewed the records himself in camera.12
Byron Case's supporters also have repeatedly insisted that they have provided all the documentation about the investigation and trial of this case that is necessary. This is patently untrue. They have approximately half of the more than 2,000 pages of documents created between October 23, 1997 and May 2, 2002, and have failed completely to provide any documentation to prove their main points about his accuser's alleged heavy drug use before the murder, using only Case's uncorroborated claims as their sole source.
The following claim was kept on Byron Case's website for a long time:And this (from someone who was acquainted with the Moffett for only a matter of a few weeks):"Kelly used drugs before Byron ever met her, during their relationship, after Anastasia was shot, and may still to this day. She did not start using drugs as a coping mechanism for supposedly witnessing Stasia's murder. She was a wild, wild girl.""It was also usual behavior for Kelly to lie and make up stories."
The fact is that these accusations were made while providing no source for any of the speculations about a woman that the writer had met only a handful of times, and about whom knew very little more than the misinformation that Case had provided, and that this seems nothing more than an excellent example of Kettle and Pot name-calling.
A pattern also became apparent during testimony that all of Byron Case's family's and friends' perception of Moffett had been filtered through himself,13,14 as all perceptions of her were second-hand, never confirmed by herself, either by action or statement, and heavily influenced by what Case told them when she wasn't in the room.
There have also been a few accusations made by Case's supporters that Moffett turned on him to collect the reward offered in the case. This has been dealt with in another section.15
The claims made by Case's supporters since his conviction have all been made without any documentation, and again all parrot his own unsubstantiated claims against her, apparently showing no interest in providing proof.
In his findings at the sentencing of Byron Case, Judge Charles Atwell said this of the efforts to impeach his accuser's motives:She came forward to accuse and testify against Anastasia's killer, not because she sought some sick revenge, but because she could no longer deal with the strain of having witnessed the murder of a friend and having to keep her knowledge secret while watching the killer himself walk away from what he had done without conscience or regret. She came forward to see justice done."I also believe from the testimony that was presented that there really was no motive that I think is believable that would give Kelly Moffett a reason to lie and to incriminate this Defendant. "The evidence was that their relationship had long since severed well before she came forward; that the contact with each other was very insubstantial at the time she came forward; and I found no evidence that would suggest a real motive for her going from claiming innocence to putting herself in a trick bag for conspiracy to commit murder, and somehow putting in prison an innocent person who she had once had a relationship with. "I just didn't find a motive that seemed reasonable to me. I suspect the jury may well have thought that also."16