The FAQ: The Murder of Anastasia WitbolsFeugen
Why were Justin and Anastasia
accompanied on the night of the murder?
It is an indisputable fact that on the night of her death on October 22, 1997, Anastasia WitbolsFeugen met up with her on-and-off boyfriend, Justin Bruton, at a Dairy Queen in Independence, Missouri, near Mt. Washington Cemetery.1 It is also an indisputable fact that Justin was accompanied by two others, namely Byron Case and his then-girlfriend, Kelly Moffett, who were riding along when Justin picked Anastasia up,2 and that the three of them were the last people known to have been seen with Anastasia before her murder.Top of page
However, the reason that the Case and Moffett came along with Justin to pick up Anastasia, only two hours before Kelly's curfew and knowing full well that there was a long argument brewing, remains in dispute.
As defendant in the trial for Anastasia's murder in 2002, Case testified that he and Moffett tagged along because they did not want to be stranded indefinitely at Bruton's apartment while he went to pick up Anastasia.3 However, in 1998, just more than four months after the murder, Case provided a different version of that story in an email to Anastasia's family, claiming that he would have had to walk 12 blocks back to his mother's apartment in order to get his car and drive Moffett home, and that it would have been too much trouble,4 completely avoiding any response to the question of why he couldn't have just had Justin drop him off before heading to Independence. Case would later go to great lengths to deny that his car was available at all that night.5
Case mentioned a number of times that he was concerned about getting Kelly Moffett home by curfew, but his excuses seem counterintuitive toward that end, and her mother testified during the murder trial that they got back to her home after curfew.6
Case's excuses for accompanying Justin out to Independence and later to Mt. Washington Cemetery do not make logical sense. The best and most believable hypothesis to explain his motives match Kelly Moffett's testimony,7 that he tagged along with Justin Bruton that night with no purpose other than to murder Anastasia.