Francesca WitbolsFeugen was the younger sister of the victim, Anastasia WitbolsFeugen. Both girls were living with the father, step-mother, and younger half-sister at the time of the murder.
Ms. WitbolsFeugen testified that her step-mother picked her up at school, and when they got home, Anastasia was waiting for them and asked their step-mother for a ride to meet her boyfriend, Justin Bruton, at Mt. Washington Cemetery.(1) She testified that she thought that this was unusual, as Justin had always before picked Anastasia up at the house, rather than requiring her to get a ride to meet him. She also testified that Bruton called about 15-20 minutes later to inform her that he would not be there to pick up Anastasia after all.(2)
She testified that at about 9:30 PM that night, Justin called the home again, to tell her that Anastasia had gotten out of the car, though it took him awhile to say exactly where and when she had gotten out, and that she could hear him speaking with Byron Case in the background during the conversation.(3) Ms. WitbolsFeugen testified that Justin Bruton called one more time later that evening and spoke to her father, telling him basically the same story. After that conversation, she told her father of the call she took from Justin previously.(4)
On cross examination, she agreed that there were periods during the evening of the murder when no one was at home, times when Anastasia might have called there and found no one to answer the phone.(5)
THE COURT:Page 676       (Francesca WitbolsFeugen testimony)Ms. Crayon, you may call your next witness.MS. CRAYON:State calls Francesca WitbolsFeugen.FRANCESCA WITBOLSFEUGEN, having been duly sworn by the Court, testified:
DIRECT EXAMINANATION BY MS. CRAYON:
Q.Like the judge said, we need you to keep your voice up so the people in the back row can hear you. Repeat your name for the jury, please.A.Francesca WitbolsFeugen. Do I need to spell it?Q.No, you don't need to spell it for them. How did you know Anastasia WitbolsFeugen?A.F She was my sister.Q.How much of an age difference was there between you and Anastasia?A.About three years.Q.How old are you now, Francesca?A.Twenty.Q.And are you in school?
A.Page 677       (Francesca WitbolsFeugen testimony)Yes.Q.Where do you go to school?A.UMKC.Q.And did you know Justin Bruton?A.Yes.Q.How did you know him?A.He was Anastasia's boyfriend. Tbat's how I met him, a couple times together.Q.You did what?A.I met them a couple times together.Q.Did you know Byron Case, the defendant in this case?A.Yes.Q.How did you know him?A.He was a friend of Anastasia's and Justin's.Q.And did you know Kelly Moffett?A.I didn't know her. I knew of her. She was Byron's girlfriend at the time.Q.Did Anastasia ever tell you that they hung out with Byron and Kelly together, her and Justin?A.Yes. I think Byron and Kelly lived in Justin's apartment. For awhile they stayed there.Q.Now, I want to take you back to 1996 and '97, that year, that school year. Do you recall who you were living with?
A.Page 678       (Francesca WitbolsFeugen testimony)I was living at my dad's house with him and my stepmother and my younger sister.Q.Your younger sister's name is?A.Emma.Q.Who else lived there with you and Emma and your dad and stepmom?A.Anastasia was there, on and off kind of --Q.Let me be more specific with the times. Did you and Anastasia move in with your dad and stepmom pretty much the same time?A.Uh-huh, yes. She moved in the summer before I started high school.Q.And then what year in school was Anastasia that year?A.She was a senior.Q.Did you both go to the same school?A.Yes.Q.What school was that?A.Lincoln College Preparatory Academy.Q.Do you know approximately when Anastasia met Justin?A.They met in the spring of '97 before she graduated.Q.And do you recall, after she met Justin, whether she continued to live in the family home?A.Not very long. I think about three weeks or less a month I think after they met she moved into his condo.
Q.Page 679       (Francesca WitbolsFeugen testimony)Do you know where this condo was?A.In Westport.Q.Okay. And had you been there?A.Yes.Q.And how would you describe Justin and Anastasia's relationship during that summer?A.I hadn't really seen Anastasia too much. We went out a couple times. I think maybe a couple times with Justin too.Q.Do you know how she felt about Justin?A.She loved him a lot. I think they were planning on getting married.Q.And do you recall, towards the end of the summer, whether that relationship changed or not?A.Yes, it changed a lot. Justin broke off the engagement, and she moved out.Q.She moved out of where?A.Of the condo and moved back into our house.Q.Now, let me talk to you about October 22nd 1997. Okay? Did you go to school that day?A.Yes.Q.It was a Wednesday; is that right?
A.Page 680       (Francesca WitbolsFeugen testimony)Uh-huh.Q.You have to say yes or no.A.Yes. Sorry.Q.That's all right. And do you recall anybody picking you up from school?A.Diane, my stepmother, picked me up.Q.Do you recall what time that was?A.It would have been around 3:30, because I have guitar club at school.Q.And where did you go after Diane picked you up from school?A.We went straight home.Q.When you got home, who was there?A.Anastasia was there waiting by the door ready to go out.Q.Okay. Tell me about, what happened when you walked in and saw Anastasia?A.She had her coat on, and she was telling us that she had plans to go meet Justin at Mount Washington Cemetery and that she needed a ride.Q.Okay. What kind of mood was Anastasia in?A.She was really happy. She was excited to be going out.Q.She wasn't saying that she was upset with Justin or anybody else?
A.Page 681       (Francesca WitbolsFeugen testimony)No. She seemed to be in a good mood.Q.You say she mentioned Justin. Did she mention that she was meeting anybody else?A.No. I don't recall anyone else coming up.Q.And did you and Anastasia have a disagreement or argument of sorts before she left?A.Yes. I had borrowed some of her clothes, and she wanted to wear them that night, so we exchanged some clothes.Q.So specifically what clothes did you exchange?A.She borrowed my shoes, and we exchanged pants and a bra.Q.Okay. And so do you recall what Anastasia was wearing when she left?A.She was wearing my black shoes, some black boot-cut pants, a black bra and tan corduroy jacket. I'm not sure what color the shirt was.Q.After you exchanged clothes with her, what happens next?A.She got Diane to take her to the cemetery.Q.And was that unusual for her to be given a ride to Mount Washington Cemetery?A.Yes. Justin had always picked her up before.Q.So this time that she was being dropped off to be at the meeting?
A.Page 682       (Francesca WitbolsFeugen testimony)Yes.Q.After Diane leaves and takes Anastasia away from the house, do you receive any phone calls?A.Yes. About 15 or 20 minutes later Justin called.Q.All right. Tell us about that.A.Justin called wanting to speak to Anastasia, and told him that she was not there because she went to the cemetery to meet him and that she had been there a few minutes already. And he said that he was in Lenexa and hadn't planned on picking her up from there because he thought she didn't have a ride.Q.Is there anything more about that conversation?A.(There was no response.)Q.Is that pretty much it?A.I wasn't sure if she was going to have a ride home or not, if he was actually going to come to the cemetery to pick her up.Q.Did he tell you, "Well, I'm not coming to pick her up it?A.He didn't say whether he was going to pick her up or not.Q.When you hung up, were you left with an impression as to whether he was going to pick her up or not?
A.Page 683       (Francesca WitbolsFeugen testimony)No. But I was kind of worried that she didn't have a ride home.Q.Does anybody else come to your house at that point?A.A little bit later my -- Diane's mother came over, my grandmother, stepgrandmother, and she had received a phone call earlier from Anastasia requesting a ride to the cemetery, but hadn't been able to get there until then. So I told her that Anastasia had already left. Diane had given her a ride.Q.And does she leave then?A.Yes, she leaves.Q.After she leaves, do you talk to anybody else on the phone?A.I call my dad, because I started to get a little worried that she didn't have a ride home.Q.And after you spoke to your dad, did you talk to anybody else?A.He -- my stepmother called.Q.Diane?A.Diane called.Q.And what happened with that phone call?A.I wanted to go get a haircut. She gave me the phone number to call the lady to get a haircut, and I talked to her about going by the cemetery and seeing if she was there.
Q.Page 684       (Francesca WitbolsFeugen testimony)Okay. And you were talking about you talked to Diane about going by the cemetery?A.Yes.Q.And then does Diane come pick you up?A.Yes. It was a little bit later. She had some work to finish up at her mother's house.Q.When she eventually comes to pick you up, where do you go?A.I go to -- her name is Shirley. She is also the baby-sitter of Emma, my younger sister, and she'll cut hair too. So I went there to get my haircut.Q.Diane gave you that ride?A.Yes.Q.When she was dropping you off to get a haircut, did you and Diane have a conversation about Anastasia?A.Yes. She said she would go the cemetery and check and see if she was still there.Q.So now you stay at Shirley's and get your haircut; is that right?A.Yes.Q.Then what happened?
A.Page 685       (Francesca WitbolsFeugen testimony)A little while later, Diane comes back and picks me up and says she didn't see Anastasia there.Q.All right. Then where do you go?A.We went home.Q.And who goes in the house?A.Just me. Diane dropped me off.Q.Now, I want to ask you -- okay. Then what do you do after you're dropped off?A.I work on some homework for awhile. I decided to go to the prayer meeting at church that night with my grandmother and younger sister. So I got ready to go there.Q.Did you leave and go there?A.Yes. I left about 6:45 or so. It's only like three or four blocks away from the house, so I walked.Q.Before you left, did you leave any messages at the house?A.Yes. I left a voice memo on our answering machine. You can record your voice, just a short message. And I left a message saying that I went to the church, and I would be home before nine.Q.Okay. So you then left for church?A.Yes.Q.And do you eventually come home then?
A.Page 686       (Francesca WitbolsFeugen testimony)Yes.Q.And about what time are you home? Do you recall?A.Before 9. It was after 8:30.Q.When you get home, did you check the answering machine?A.Yes, and my memo was still on it.Q.If somebody had come home and checked the memo, would that have still been on the machine?A.Only if they saved it. Anastasia and I had left memos on there before. It was easier than writing a note and putting it on the refrigerator.Q.And were there any messages on the answering machine?A.No.Q.So after you come home, what do you do?A.I come home with my younger sister, Emma, and we have a snack, and we watch a movie on our TV.Q.And do you receive any more phone calls that night?A.Yes. I was on the computer, and I received a phone call from Justin.Q.When Justin calls, tell the jury what he says to you on the phone?
A.Page 687       (Francesca WitbolsFeugen testimony)He says that Anastasia -- Anastasia and him had had a fight, and she got out of the car. And I heard him talking to someone else in the background. And I asked who it was, and he said it was Byron.Q.When Justin called, did the first thing he say, did he ask is Anastasia there? How did the conversation start?A.I don't think he asked for Anastasia. He made it sound like he was letting me know that she would be home soon and that she should call him when she got home.Q.All right. Did he tell you what time or where Anastasia got out of the car?A.I asked him where she had gotten out of the car at, and I couldn't get an answer out of him. It was a lot of background discussion between him and Byron as to what went on, and I couldn't understand any of what they were talking about.Q.What about a time?A.They finally -- they were talking back and forth about that too, and they gave me like approximate time around 8:30. I remember that, because the phone call was around 9:30, because I had said that, "You mean she's been out there an hour?"
Because I was worried. An hour is a long time to be out somewhere alone at night.
Q.Page 688       (Francesca WitbolsFeugen testimony)And was it dark by this time?A.I believe it was. It was fall, so it was probably really dark.Q.And did you say anything to Justin after you realized she had been out there an hour?A.Just that, if anything happened to her, it was his fault and I kind of hung up on him at that point.Q.After that conversation, does anybody else come to your house?A.About ten -- or anywhere from 10 or 20 minutes later, my dad and Diane come home. They're in separate cars, but they come home pretty much back to back, one after another so --Q.And do you tell either of them about the phone call that you had received from Justin?A.Not at that time. I was on the computer, and I thought about telling my dad, but I decided against it, because Justin made it sound like she would be home soon. So I didn't want to get her in trouble with my dad and let them know that they were having more problems.Q.All right. And you know that -- was your sister hoping to patch up her relationship with Justin?
A.Page 689       (Francesca WitbolsFeugen testimony)Yes. She was trying to remain optimistic about it, despite Justin's comments that he didn't love her anymore.Q.And she talked to you about that?A.Yes.Q.And about how long passes before you decide "I better say something", or what prompts you to say something?A.I think I heard the phone ringing and my dad talks to those -- Justin. He was talking to Justin on the phone. And he sounded upset. And after he got off the phone with Justin, I told him that Justin had called around 9:30 and let him know what was going on. And my dad was pretty upset.Q.Okay. What, if anything, did your dad do after you told him that?A.He talked to Diane and let her know that he was going to go out and look for her.Q.Did he leave the house?A.Yes.Q.Now, you have school the next day; is that right?A.Yes.Q.And at some point do you go to bed?A.Yes.
Q.Page 690       (Francesca WitbolsFeugen testimony)And by the time you're going to bed, has your dad come home and told you anything?A.No. He had not.Q.And so when you get up the next morning, tell us about that.A.I woke up for school around 7 -- before 7 -- and went downstairs and my dad and Diane were in the kitchen talking. And I talked to them about what was going on. I was making lunch for school.Q.All right. And do you end up going to school at that time?A.Yes.Q.You're at school that day, and what's the next contact you have with your family?A.It was during my last class at school, and I got -- there was an intercom message for me to come to the office.Q.Okay. And was Diane there when you came down?A.Yes.Q.Is it Diane -- is it Diane who tells you that they had found Anastasia?A.Yes. We went into the principal's office, and she told me.Q.And at some point a couple of days later, do you end up going in and giving a statement to Officer Kilgore?
A.Page 691       (Francesca WitbolsFeugen testimony)Yes. My dad before that asked me to remember everything that happened that night and write it all down so that it would be fresh for when I went to see Kilgore.Q.Francesca, I just have a couple more questions. Was your sister going to UMKC that fall?A.No. She had registered for classes, but she decided not to go because she and Justin pretty much had the same schedule, and she didn't -- she felt that that might be a little too much for them to have all those classes together. So she decided not to go, and my dad got the refund back.Q.Now, she made that decision after her and Justin broke up?A.Yes.Q.So that was in response to her not wanting to have contact with Justin because of their relationship?A.Yes. I think it had a little bit more to do with his attitude towards it.Q.You said you're 20 now. When this happened in October of '97, Francesca, how old were you?A.I was 15. It was a couple months before I turned 16.
MS. CRAYON:Page 692       (Francesca WitbolsFeugen testimony)I don't have any more questions.THE COURT:Mr. Lance.MR. LANCE:I have a couple of additional questions.CROSS EXAMINATION BY MR. LANCE:
Q.Would you like to request a break before we go on?A.No.Q.You don't need one?A.Yeah.Q.Do you need a break?A.No, thank you.Q.On the evening of October 22nd as you described, about what time was it when Justin called the first time?A.It was around 4:30.Q.When Justin called that first time around 4:30, did you have the impression that Justin was surprised that Anastasia was not at home when he called?A.Yes.
Q.Page 693       (Francesca WitbolsFeugen testimony)And did Justin seem to be further surprised that Anastasia had gone ahead and gone to Mount Washington Cemetery?A.Yes.Q.Did Justin come right out and say that he had the impression Anastasia didn't have a ride to get to the cemetery?A.Yes.Q.And since he had that impression, he had made other plans over in Kansas?A.He didn't say he made othe plans. But he said he was in Lenexa so...Q.At that point was it your impression that Justin seemed reluctant to drive over to Independence, Missouri, to meet Anastasia?A.Yes.Q.He made general comments like, "Well, I'm over here in Lenexa, and I didn't think we were going to meet after all"?A.Yes.Q.He was making comments like that, like he didn't want to drive all the way to Independence, Missouri? Now, you said you know who Kelly Moffett is, right?A.Yes.Q.On the evening of October 22nd, did you ever speak on the phone with Kelly Moffett?
A.Page 694       (Francesca WitbolsFeugen testimony)No, I did not.Q.On the evening of October 22nd, did you ever speak on the phone with Mr. Byron Case?A.I didn't speak with him directly, no.Q.The only person you spoke on the phone with was Justin Bruton, correct?A.Yes.Q.On the evening of October 22nd you mentioned you had gone to get a haircut?A.Yes.Q.During the time frame when you were gone to get a haircut, would it be fair to say that no one was at home back at your family residence?A.Yes.Q.Even though your father was working late that night?A.Yes.Q.And your stepmother, Diane, had gone to work at her mother's house?A.Yes.Q.Now, later in the evening you decided to attend a church meeting?A.Yes.
Q.Page 695       (Francesca WitbolsFeugen testimony)During the time period that you were gone to the church meeting, is this fair to say, that no one was at home back at your family residence?A.Yes.Q.Because, again, your father hadn't gotten home from work?A.Uh-huh, yes.Q.Diane was still helping her mother work at the Victorian house?A.Yes.Q.Anastasia was gone to Mount Washington Cemetery?A.Yes.Q.And you were at church?A.Yes.Q.When you arrived back from the church meeting, you said that was approximately 8:30?A.Yes.Q.Don't let me put words in your mouth.A.Yes. I think it was a little after 8:30 because we had stayed at the prayer meeting a little longer, because there was a bake sale.Q.So when you arrived home with Emma, it was probably a little after 8:30?A.Yes. Probably closer to 8:45.Q.It was after that that Diane and your father, Bob, arrived?
A.Yes. They didn't come home until about an hour later.Q.When you arrived back home with Emma, who was at home when you arrived?A.No one. My grandmother, Diane's mom, dropped Emma and Diane off.Q.All right. When you arrived home after the church meeting, who was at home when you arrived?A.Nobody.MR. LANCE:No further questions.MS. CRAYON:No redirect, Your Honor.THE COURT:Thank you, ma'am. Appreciate your testimony.
(The witness was excused.)