The FAQ: The Murder of Anastasia WitbolsFeugen
What motive(s) could Byron Case have had to commit murder?
One of the consistent claims made by Byron Case’s supporters is that the prosecution in his trial failed to show a motive for murder. While it is not required in a murder trial to determine a motive, his supporters are incorrect in their assertion that no motive was given; the truth is that they do not accept the motive given by the prosecution, and are insisting upon a higher standard of a logical motive.Top of page
There are in truth nearly as many motives for murder as there are murders. Case’s motives were both simple and complex, obvious and mysterious. For those who do not know him well, especially those who met him only after his conviction, those motives are difficult to accept; for most who knew him before the murder, they are easier to understand.
Evidence contained on this web site concerning Case's personality and behavior before and since the murder are not presented in an effort to prove him guilty. They are presented to show that the face that he shows to his current supporters, that of a sensitive, innocent man caught in a web of others' deceit and rage, is false. The evidence of his personality and behavior here will not show that he is guilty of murder, but it will strongly suggest that he was certainly capable of murder.
Jurors were provided a taste of the animosity Anastasia's kller felt toward her with discussion of his pager's announcement, both from prosecution witness Kelly Moffett,1and defense witness Tara McDowell.2 They also heard Kelly Moffett's testimony of the reasons given her by Justin Bruton only hours before the murder.3 The jury was prevented from seeing the letter that Anastasia left on Justin Bruton's PC barely 36 hours before her murder,4 which by itself could have provoked him to great anger, had he not had homicidal tendencies.
What the jury also did not see were facts of Case's lifestyle that matched Moffett's description of his "weird fascination with death",5 specifically his use of autopsy photos as computer screensavers6
Did Case have a logical motive for murder? Of course not. A murder like Anastasia's is not generally a logical action. But his supporters do not get to predefine nor re-define the terms here. The prosecution established a motive for him, that Case had a strong dislike for Anastasia, and that he wanted to know what it was like to kill someone. In short, it was a thrill kill, a killing done just as an experiment, just for the experience. His dislike for Anastasia just made her a "logical" subject for his twisted "experiment".
Is Byron Case the kind of person who could kill? Ask one of his current supporters, and they would say that he is a caring, sensitive man, a writer and an artist, a man incapable of harming another person, much less taking another person's life. However, they have no idea or at least have supressed the memory of how arrogant and uncooperative he was toward police during the investigation,7 or how rude and uncivil his behavior was toward Anastasia's family immediately after the murder.8 They believe that he was good friends with Anastasia, and do not know the truth of that relationship.9 Many of them are unaware of his prior criminal record or heavy drug use,10 and know nothing of his own suicidal behavior.11 Or do they just choose to ignore such things?