The FAQ: The Murder of Anastasia WitbolsFeugen
What was the time of Anastasia death?
Anastasia's time of death was not mentioned in Byron Case's trial, either by prosecution or defense. His supporters feel this was a grave injustice to him, because if Anastasia's time of death had, say, been determined to have been 1 AM the following morning, it would have been exculpatory evidence in his favor.Top of page
Case must accept as much responsibility for not having his counsel ask that simple question during trial. There were two witnesses who testified about Anastasia's autopsy, one each for prosecution and defense.1,2Neither witness was asked a question about time of death by either prosecution or defense counsel, either under direct or cross examination.
This is an issue raised by Case and his supporters only after his conviction, and has not been part of any of his appeals, and seems therefore a case of too little too late. He filed one appeal against his trial attorney, claiming ineffective counsel,3 but did not complain in the course of that appeal that his attorney had failed to ask such a question; we must conclude that he did not hold his attorney responsible for such actions.
According to witness Glenn Colliver,4 they were in Mt. Washington Cemetery at between 7 and 7:15 PM, and according to Kelly's mother were back at Kelly's home by about 9:20,5 which places Case's window of opportunity between approximately 7:15 and 8:30 PM.
The time of Anastasia's death can be roughly estimated by several clues. From the onset of rigor mortis and livor mortis and the environmental conditions at her place of death, her death could not have occured any later than 10 PM. In addition, then-County Prosecutor (and now Jackson County Circuit Court Judge) Robert Beaird informed Anastasia's family in mid-2000 that the sanitary napkin found on her indicated that she could not have been wearing it more than two or three hours at the time of her murder, and possibly less than an hour. We know now that Justin drove Anastasia back to her house from the Dairy Queen to change her clothes, and that she also changed out the tampon she had been loaned by the DQ waitress in favor of the sanitary napkin she normally wore.6 This occured at appoximately 7 PM,7 and using Beaird's estimates we can deduce that the murder took place some time between 7:30 and 10 PM, well within Case's window of opportunity. For those who still insist that Anastasia's boyfriend, Justin Bruton, committed the murder (as a homicide or as part of a suicide pact), It also falls outside of the time in which he could have arrived at the scene to have done so.
One of Case's supporters has attempted to place Anastasia's time of death near midnight, using such bogus measures as statements by witnesses who were obviously mistaken about the time, forensic means that use the temperature of Kansas City's Downtown Airport as their standard for each measure (Lincoln Cemetery is several miles away, at a higher elevation, and much cooler than Downtown Airport) to support their speculation. This has been their last effort to date, and requires a large stretch of the imagination to be even remotely feasible