IntroductionByron Case (also known as Missouri Department of Corrections Inmate No. 328416) shot and killed Anastasia WitbolsFeugen on the night of October 22, 1997. He was arrested and charged with her murder on June 11, 2001, and convicted by jury trial on May 2, 2002 of Murder in the First Degree and of Armed Criminal Action. He received a sentence of Life in Prison Without Chance of Parole. He exhausted his last appeal in 2010, and will remain in prison for the remainder of his life.
Shortly following his sentencing, friends of his set up a web site on his behalf in an effort to "prove" his innocence. While we feel they have the right to publish whatever they want (within bounds of decency and the law, both of which we believe they have crossed a number of times), we also believe that it is our right and is in the interest of truth to respond to the claims made on that web site. We will not list the address of that website, as we do not believe that we owe any free advertising to Anastasia's killer, and feel that they went beyond the bounds of decency by, among other things, having for several years used photos of Anastasia (his victim) as a means of advertising on their website.
We believe that the killer's web site presents a number of half-truths and outright fabrications, having cherry-picked from the facts as it suits the cause, misrepresenting evidence that was presented, claiming that they have "nothing to embellish, purposely mistate, or hide", while frequently doing exactly those things. They persist in claiming that the conviction "was the direct result of only ONE alleged witness' testimony" (their words) yet fail to acknowledge that his tacit admission of guilt in a taped conversation, and the transparency of his poor alibi were as important as the eyewitness testimony.
While they rail about "no motive, no DNA evidence, no weapon, no ballistics tests", they ignore that what convicted him was the combination of (1) an eyewitness account that closely matched the forensic evidence, (2) his own tacit admission, (3) the lack of any believable alibi on his part for being the last person to see her alive, (4) strong evidence of his animosity toward Anastasia, and (5) a general lack of believability by the defendant as well as his key defense witnesses.
They have spent much time arguing that this was "a long-unsolved case" that the Sheriff's Department felt "relief" to be able to close, ignoring the facts that (1) the Sheriff's Department did not "close" this case, as the witness came forward to the Prosecutor's Office, NOT the Sheriff's Department, and it was the Prosecutor's independent decision to charge him, (2) there are MANY murder cases in Jackson County much older than this one that still remain unsolved, and (3) the Sheriff's Department could have "closed" this case as "solved" within days of the murder simply by blaming the killer's dead friend, Justin Bruton, had they really been desperate to "solve" it.
We note that none of those who were originally responsible for the editorial content of the web site actually attended the trial, and that many others currently involved have either never met Case or only did so years after his conviction, and that they have set their opinions of how the trial was handled and constructed a list of "issues" they felt pertinent without actually knowing what went on in trial, and to this day still offer badly misconstrued arguments; we feel the duty to correct those willful misperceptions. Toward the goal of correcting some of those misperceptions, we have placed transcripts of all testimony and cross-examination during State v. Case.
Facts and FictionsWhat we report here about Case's history and personality are true. We report these facts because we believe that the behavior and personality of the individual convicted of such a violent crime as murder are very relevant to the discussion of his guilt. He may dispute our statements and attempt to refute them if he chooses, because he has the ability to do so. Anastasia does not have that ability -- it was stolen from her when he took her life. She cannot feel pain, discomfort, or sadness, but neither can she feel pleasure, comfort, nor joy, because he stole all that from her. He has the rest of his life to make his rationalizations and his excuses; Anastasia has nothing at all. That is the difference.
We maintain the information on these pages in the interests of truth and balance, and to rebut many of the most outrageous claims made by the killer's supporters. If you came here from that web site, then you are aware that they are asking for financial or other types of support from you, and we wish you to understand that there is another side to the story than the one told there, a story they do not wish you to see.
On the killer's web site, the following quote used to appear, claiming that his "accusers obviously have much to maintain by shedding him in a bad light." (emphasis ours)
We wish it to be made clear to the killer's supporters that we are not his "accusers" (a word that seems to be used as a synonym to "persecutors") ; it was the State of Missouri that accused him of murder. It was a jury of twelve citizens who agreed that the State had shown evidence of his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and convicted him upon that evidence. We are NOT the accusers; however, we ARE the survivors of the victim, and are ourselves victims of his crime.
We also wish it made clear that the only "obvious" thing that we feel we have an need to "maintain" is simply that this man was justly convicted and should stay where he belongs. He has appealed through the system as is his right, but we will continue to respond to and rebut the half-truths and falsehoods that he and his supporters assert on their public website, but were not able to assert in court because they could not meet the burden of proof. And we can "shed him in a bad light" all we want, because what we report of him is true, and is necessary to counteract the half-truths and outright untruths of their site.
And finally, we should point out that the killer's supporters seem to have a great fiction to maintain themselves, in that they continue to claim without the slightest supportable proof that his ex-girlfriend was "out to get him", and that they continue to avoid addressing the fact that his conviction very much based on his own tacit admission to the murder, recorded during a phone conversation in which he was asked three times why he killed Anastasia.
It has also been brought to our attention that Case has insisted to many of his followers that he had never been convicted of a crime before being charged with murder. This is patently untrue, as he was charged with burglary and felony stealing a year before the murder, and he pled guilty to the latter charge in a plea bargain in 1998. After his conviction and sentencing for murder, an effort was made to diminish the importance of that charge, even to the point of claiming the charge had been reduced to a misdemeanor, a claim that is likewise untrue. It should be noted that the victim of the crime was his own aunt, who had no trouble pressing felony charges against him in 1996. The post hoc attempt to change that to a misdemeanor charge is merely cosmetic.
AppealsThe killer since his conviction has failed in three appeals, the last ending when the Supreme Court of the United States denied his petition to consider his habeas corpus appeal, and has now exhausted all his legal avenues to reverse his conviction.
He has filed a petition for an "absolute pardon" with Missouri's Governor's Office (what should probably be called a "full pardon"), but his odds of winning such a pardon are actually smaller than his odds were of gaining a favorable opinion from the Supreme Court. To date, Missouri's current governor has not yet issued a pardon to any currently incarcerated prisoner.
PermanenceWe had originally planned have this portion of Anastasia's memorial site up for only a few months in 2003 and then to take it down for space considerations at the end of the year, but we feel it still serves a purpose and have decided to leave it up permanently, making periodic updates to it. After we moved Anastasia's memorial to its own site, available space is not an issue anyway. Now that her killer's appeals have been exhausted, his only hope is to create new evidence, an unlikely event. Updates to this site should now be considered "occasional".
A final noteAs this web site IS primarily about Anastasia, we are now making an effort to scale this portion of it back a bit, removing most photos of her killer, removing access to some pages on the list, and removing many direct references to the killer's name, granting him a bit more of his well-deserved obscurity.