Byron Case

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Byron Case
Case in 2017
Case in 2017
BornByron Christopher Case
(1978-11-23) November 23, 1978 (age 40)
Lenexa, Kansas
OccupationWriter, poet
ResidenceEastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center
GenresCreative nonfiction (CNF), poetry
Website
freebyroncase.com

Byron Christopher Case (born November 23, 1978 in Lenexa, Kansas) is an American writer and poet imprisoned in Missouri since 2001 for first-degree murder. His work is published in anthologies and literary journals, as well as his collection of short memoirs and poems, The Pariah's Syntax: Notes from an Innocent Man.[1] Case has maintained his innocence and submitted a Petition for Executive Clemency, Non-Capital Case to Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, which is currently under consideration by incumbent Missouri Governor Eric Greitens.[2] Supporters of Case have also set up an online petition which has garnered more than 1,700 signatures. Case's trial was featured in the 2010 book The Skeptical Juror and the Trial of Byron Case by J. Bennett Allen,[3] on the 2014 Investigation Discovery television show On the Case with Paula Zahn,[4] and on the 2016 MTV television show Unlocking the Truth.[5]

Biography[edit]

Case grew up in suburban Kansas, a precocious child with talents for language, music, and art. He was homeschooled from kindergarten through fifth grade and, with his parents, traveled domestically and internationally. Upon his parents’ divorce at the age of ten, his mother and he moved to New South Wales, Australia, where he played classical violin as a street performer on weekends.[6]

Following his return to the United States after approximately one year, Case attended public and private schools in Kansas and Missouri. His school career ended after his freshman year at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy.[6][7] In 1996, he obtained an equivalency diploma from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. That same year, Case had a brief internship at The Kansas City Star, where his writing first appeared in print.[6]

Case did not pursue a career in journalism but rather worked primarily in service-industry jobs throughout his teenage years, including a restaurant[8] and a hotel.[9]

In 2001, Case was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action for the 1997 shooting death of a friend and former classmate, Anastasia WitbolsFeugen.[10] Case maintained his innocence, but at the conclusion of a four-day trial, was found guilty on both counts and received concurrent sentences of life without parole and life.[11] Case was held at Crossroads Correctional Center,[12] a maximum-security prison in Cameron, Missouri until May 15, 2018 when he was transferred to Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, MO.[13]

Publications[edit]

Case's writing began appearing online in 2007, taking the form of meditations and vignettes about prison life.[14] His posts initially appeared on a MySpace page that garnered controversy[15] and was soon taken down. In May 2011, several of Case's blog posts were republished in issue 27 of Meridian, the semi-annual journal of the University of Virginia.[16]

Requiem for a Paper Bag, edited by Davy Rothbart of FOUND Magazine fame, was the first anthology to include Case's creative nonfiction, his memoir piece “Trash Night”.[17] Other work, including personal essays, later appeared in Larry Smith's The Moment: Wild, Poignant, Life-Changing Stories from 125 Writers and Artists Famous and Obscure[18] and in A Manner of Being: Writers on Their Mentors.[19]

In the fall of 2011, Issue 13.2 of Common Ground Review featured the first of Case's published poems, “The Three Disastrous Lost Loves of B”.[20] That poem later appeared in Case's first book, a hybrid work entitled The Pariah’s Syntax: Notes from an Innocent Man,[1] which was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award.[21]

In 2015, Case branched out with a well-received[22] web comic, Writer’s Cramp, mocking the literary life, which had forty-two weekly installments before he retired it to focus on writing a novel.[23]

With no internet access at Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center, Case's online blog The Pariah's Syntax: Unbound Notes from an Innocent Man (started in 2007 and is ongoing) is maintained by his ability to type and mail out his writings to an individual who then posts them onto his website.[6][14]

Bibliography and Works[edit]

  • The Pariah's Syntax: Unbound Notes from an Innocent Man, Online Blog (2007–present)[14]
  • Literacy Helps Pass the Time in Prison, Polite Magazine (2008)[24]
  • Requiem for a Paper Bag, Contributor (2009)[17]
  • Dream Lover, I Love Bad Movies (2009)[25]
  • Space Truckers, I Love Bad Movies (2010)[25]
  • Freejack, I Love Bad Movies (2010)[25]
  • Halloween in the Hoosegow, Meridian (2011)[16][26]
  • On the Scarcity of Toilet Paper, Meridian (2011)[16][27]
  • Only a Fleeting Thing, Meridian (2011)[16][28]
  • In Memory of Monuments, Meridian (2011)[16][29]
  • Joe, Meridian (2011)[16][30]
  • Alone Together, Hyperlexia Journal (2011)[31]
  • Mechanical Sympathy, Hyperlexia Journal (2011)[31]
  • The Three Disastrous Lost Loves of B, Common Ground Review (2011)[20]
  • The Moment: Wild, Life-Changing Stories from 125 Writers and Artists Famous & Obscure, Contributor (2012)[18]
  • French Quarter Kicks, Rockhurst Review (2012)[32]
  • The Pariah's Syntax: Notes from an Innocent Man (2013)[1]
  • Prisoner's Thai Noodles, Alimentum (2013)[33]
  • For Those Who Terrorize My Students On Awakening at Sunup, Approaching the Ides of March, My Twelfth Year in Prison, and Dampening the Institutional Clamor with a CD of Mozart’s Requiem and a Journal of Poetry, J Journal (2014)[34]
  • Joy, Rattle (2014)[35]
  • Sick in Stir, Trajectory (2014)[36][37]
  • The Best Part of Waking up, J Journal (2015)[38]
  • Writer's Cramp, web comic (2015)[23][22]
  • A Manner of Being: Writers on Their Mentors, Contributor (2015)[19]
  • Migration, Coal City Review (2015)[39]
  • Outpatients, Apalachee Review (2015)[40]
  • Sunny Side Up, Bryant Literary Review (2017)[41]
  • Eidetic, Slant: A Journal of Poetry (Vol. 32, 2018)[42]

Conviction[edit]

Case's 2002 conviction for murder remains contentious, with those close to WitbolsFeugen's family insisting Case is guilty,[43] and his supporters asserting he is innocent.[6]

The 1997 death of WitbolsFeugen in her Independence, Missouri, hometown was by a gunshot wound to the face. No physical evidence was found at the scene, and her death was declared a homicide.[44] Authorities went on record as saying they suspected a murder-suicide: WitbolsFeugen's intermittent boyfriend, Justin Bruton, had killed himself before her body had been identified.[45]

In 2000, an ex-girlfriend of Case's, Kelly Moffett, told county prosecutors that she had witnessed Case murder WitbolsFeugen three years prior.[46][47] In June 2001, Case was charged and arrested at his family's residence.[48]

Case's trial began in April 2002. It lasted four days and involved testimonial and circumstantial evidence. He was found guilty on both counts with which he was charged, and in June 2002, a judge sentenced him to serve life without parole and life concurrently.[11] Throughout the proceedings and subsequent appeals, Case maintained that he is innocent.[6]

On the Case with Paula Zahn featured WitbolsFeugen's death as its subject for an October 2014 episode.[4] The episode included interviews with Moffett, members of WitbolsFeugen's family, and law enforcement, in addition to dramatic re-enactments.

In the fall of 2016, an investigative series on MTV, entitled Unlocking the Truth and hosted by exonerated ex-prisoner Ryan Ferguson and Eva Nagao, looked into Case's innocence claim. Spanning four episodes, the interviews with forensics experts, law enforcement, Case's supporters, and members of the WitbolsFeugen family delivered no conclusive results. Ferguson, the series’ narrator, declared Case's conviction wrongful, based on lack of evidence.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Case, Byron (2013). The Pariah's Syntax: Notes from an Innocent Man. Redbat Books. ISBN 978-0-989592-40-6.
  2. ^ "Petition for Executive Clemency, Non-Capital Case by the Honorable Governor Jeremiah Nixon" (PDF).
  3. ^ Allen, J. Bennett (2010). The Skeptical Juror and the Trial of Byron Case. Allen & Allen Semiotics, Inc. ISBN 0984271600.
  4. ^ a b "Betrayal and Regret - On the Case with Paula Zahn | Investigation Discovery". www.investigationdiscovery.com. Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  5. ^ a b "Unlocking The Truth | Season 1 Episodes (TV Series) | MTV". MTV. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Free Byron Case". freebyroncase.com. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
  7. ^ Case, Byron. "Personal Letter to Missouri Governor Jay Nixon" (PDF).
  8. ^ Freebyroncase (2007-09-09). "THE PARIAH'S SYNTAX: Double Life, Part One". THE PARIAH'S SYNTAX. Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  9. ^ Freebyroncase (2012-12-18). "THE PARIAH'S SYNTAX: Front Desk Cupid". THE PARIAH'S SYNTAX. Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  10. ^ "Case.net: - Charge Information". www.courts.mo.gov. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  11. ^ a b "Cemetery Plot". Kansas City Pitch. Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  12. ^ "MODOC Offender Search". web.mo.gov. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  13. ^ Freebyroncase (2018-05-21). "THE PARIAH'S SYNTAX: Moving Day". THE PARIAH'S SYNTAX. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  14. ^ a b c "www.pariahblog.com". www.pariahblog.com. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  15. ^ "This Murderer Needs a Friend". Kansas City Pitch. Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  16. ^ a b c d e f "Contributor Search". uva.readmeridian.org. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  17. ^ a b Rothbart, Davy (2009). Requiem for a Paper Bag: Celebrities and Civilians Tell Stories of the Best Lost, Tossed, and Found Items from Around the World. Fireside. ISBN 1416560548.
  18. ^ a b Smith, Larry (2012). The Moment: Wild, Poignant, Life-Changing Stories from 125 Writers and Artists Famous & Obscure. Harper Perennial. ISBN 006171965X.
  19. ^ a b Liontas, Annie; Parker, Jeff (2015). A Manner of Being: Writers on Their Mentors. University of Massachusetts Press. ISBN 978-1-62534-182-2.
  20. ^ a b "Fall/Winter 2011 | Common Ground Review". cgreview.org. Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  21. ^ "Eric Hoffer Book Award Category Finalists". www.hofferaward.com. Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  22. ^ a b "Writer's Cramp: Comics From An Innocent Man". Comics Bulletin. 2015-02-11. Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  23. ^ a b "THE PARIAH'S SYNTAX". thepariahssyntax.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  24. ^ "polite magazine | generally interesting". www.politemag.com. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  25. ^ a b c "Contributors". I Love Bad Movies - The Zine About Great-Bad Films. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  26. ^ "THE PARIAH'S SYNTAX". thepariahssyntax.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  27. ^ Freebyroncase (2010-02-20). "THE PARIAH'S SYNTAX: On the Scarcity of Toilet Paper". THE PARIAH'S SYNTAX. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  28. ^ Freebyroncase (2009-02-01). "THE PARIAH'S SYNTAX: Only a Fleeting Thing". THE PARIAH'S SYNTAX. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  29. ^ Freebyroncase (2009-09-20). "THE PARIAH'S SYNTAX: In Memory of Monuments". THE PARIAH'S SYNTAX. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  30. ^ Freebyroncase (2008-03-25). "THE PARIAH'S SYNTAX: Joe". THE PARIAH'S SYNTAX. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  31. ^ a b "Byron Case". Hyperlexia Journal. 2011-12-01. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  32. ^ "(no title)". rockhurstreview.org. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  33. ^ "Alimentum - Prisoner's Thai Noodles by Byron Case". www.alimentumjournal.com. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  34. ^ "Spring 2014 – Vol. 7, No. 1". jjournal2.jjay.cuny.edu. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  35. ^ "byron case | Search Results | Rattle: Poetry". www.rattle.com. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  36. ^ "Issue 9 | | Trajectory". www.trajectoryjournal.com. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  37. ^ Freebyroncase (2017-02-14). "An Occasional Poem, Unfortunately Relevant Again". THE PARIAH'S SYNTAX. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  38. ^ "Fall 2015 – Vol. 8, No. 2". jjournal2.jjay.cuny.edu. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  39. ^ "CCR 36 – Coal City Review & Press". coalcity.org. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  40. ^ "Apalachee Review". apalacheereview.org. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  41. ^ "Volume 18, May 2017 – Bryant Literary Review". Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  42. ^ "SLANT Summer 2018: Table of Contents — English". uca.edu. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  43. ^ "In Memoriam: Anastasia Elizabeth WitbolsFeugen (1979-1997)". www.stasia.org. Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  44. ^ "Medical Examiner Investigator Report" (PDF).
  45. ^ Anderson, James D. "News Media Information Report" (PDF).
  46. ^ "Statement to Jackson County Prosecutor" (PDF).
  47. ^ Kilgore, Sgt., Gary M. "Statement Of: Kelly Moffett" (PDF).
  48. ^ "Jackson County Sheriff's Department Custody Report" (PDF).

External links[edit]