The FAQ: The Murder of Anastasia WitbolsFeugen
Was Kelly Moffett granted immunity from prosecution?
When Kelly Moffett came forward in September 2000 to repudiate her earlier statements about the murder of Anastasia WitbolsFeugen and implicate Byron Case as Anastasia's killer, she simultaneously implicated herself as an accessory to the murder after the fact. In having given false information to the Jackson County Sheriff's Department in her statements during the first year following the murder -- her story that Anastasia had jumped out of Justin Bruton's car at a stop light and had walked away from there -- she could have been charged with Obstruction of Justice and Accessory to Murder.1Top of page
In exchange for her testimony at the trial, the Moffett received immunity for her own role in the coverup,2 but was still required to describe in detail her actions and her subsequent descent into alcoholism and drug abuse.
In nearly all situations involving a prosecution witness receiving immunity, the witness has made the deal to avoid prosecution or incarceration for something for which they are already facing charges or sentencing. What made this situation unique was the fact that the accuser came forward with her incriminating information with no charges against her pending, threatened, or likely. The risk involved was entirely hers.
Among the more improbable claims made by Case's supporters is that police and/or prosecutors, intent upon (in one supporter's words) "railroading" Case on the murder charge, could have ordered Moffett to "say anything" during her testimony, while threatening to send her to prison if she refused. Her grant of immunity was for possible charges of Obstruction and/or Accessory, for which she could not have been charged without her own testimony, as police and prosecution could not have made the case of murder against Case without that testimony and her help in eliciting the killer's tacit confession.
Unlike Byron Case, Moffett specifically sought immunity for the crimes to which she admitted in her statement, and was granted it in a court in exchange for her testimony; Case only received a limited promise from an assistant prosecutor not to use information gained from one specific interview against him.