Licensed in Missouri and Kansas

Fighting for Justice: Our Pro Bono Case to Free Byron Case

Recently featured in the KC Star, Meyerkord, Russell & Hergott attorney Brian Russell filed a motion with the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, in Byron Case’s direct appeal from 2004. This case became a miscarriage of justice in 2002, when Jackson County unlawfully convicted Byron by manufacturing evidence and concealing evidence of his innocence.

In cooperation with Miracle of Innocence and Sean O’Brien, former chief public defender in Kansas City, MO and current UMKC School of Law, Professor of Law, we are trying to correct this injustice.

State v. Byron Case Background

In 2002 in State v. Byron Case, Byron was convicted for the murder of Anastasia WitbolsFeugen, who died in 1997. For several years, these were the details known from the night of the incident:

  • Byron was one of the last people to see Anastasia alive when she briefly went missing on the evening of October 22, 1997.
  • Byron was riding in a car with his friend, Justin Bruton, his girlfriend, Kelly Moffett, and Justin’s girlfriend, Anastasia. Justin was driving and Anastasia was in the front passenger seat arguing about their relationship.
  • Shortly after sunset at the intersection of I-435 and Truman Road, Anastasia furiously got out of the car and started walking east on Truman Road towards Independence, where she lived.
  • A mechanic who worked at a gas station 100 feet from the intersection testified he saw an attractive young woman, approximately five foot, six or seven inches tall, get out of a car at the intersection and walk in the direction of Lincoln Cemetery.
  • Two other undisclosed witnesses saw the same events as the mechanic.
  • At 3:45 a.m. on October 23, 1997, Anastasia’s body was found in Lincoln Cemetery, 1/3 of a mile from where she got out of the car, with a single gunshot wound to the tip of her nose.
  • The morning Anastasia’s body was found, her boyfriend, Justin Bruton, bought a shotgun, drove to an industrial site in De Soto, Kansas, and committed suicide.
  • No one knew then, or now, how Anastasia ended up in Lincoln Cemetery.

In September 2000 — three years later — Kelly contacted the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office from a drug rehab center and claimed that she saw Byron kill Anastasia. The police worked with Kelly to try and record Byron confessing to the crime. The week prior to this, Byron had cut off contact with Kelly.

Importance of These Types of Cases

Byron Case’s constitutional right to due process of the law was violated. There are numerous accounts of the facts not lining up with what was presented to the jury:

  • Jackson County Medical Examiner Thomas Young, M.D.: Kelly Moffett’s testimony is “not consistent with the physical evidence.”
  • Kansas City Regional Crime Lab Blood Spatter Analyst contradicts Kelly Moffett’s description of the shooting.
  • Newly discovered audio proves the State misrepresented what Mr. Case said in a recorded call from Kelly on June 5, 2001.
  • Amongst many more discrepancies listed in the motion.

Everyone has a right to the due process in America, and that is ultimately what we are fighting for. This case is a glaring miscarriage of justice, and we are committed to correcting this wrongful conviction. The involvement of Miracle of Innocence, an organization dedicated to helping free the innocent and providing care when they come home, further validates the need for Byron Case’s freedom.

To read more about the night in question and Byron’s case, check out the KC Star article, the motion filed with the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, and the brief and exhibits.

To support Byron Case and the fight for justice, we encourage you to voice your concerns. Reach out to the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office and the Missouri Attorney General, and let them know how you feel about what is happening to Bryon in our justice system. Wrongful convictions erode our justice system and need to be corrected.