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Byron Case May 1, 2002 Pages 907-948 Direct examination by Horton Lance Cross examination by Therese Crayon Redirect examination by Horton Lance Page 907 (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
ABRAHAM KNEISLEY, having been duly sworn by the Court, testified: DIRECT EXAMINATION BY MR. LANCE: Q: Sir, for the record, please state your name. A: Abraham Kneisley. Q: How old are you? Page 908 A: Twenty-three. Q: Where do you currently live at? A: I live in Berkeley, California. Q: Back in 1997, were you living in Missouri? A: Yes. Q: How do you know the defendant, Mr. Byron Case? A: We met when we were freshmen in high school, 14 years old, and ran into each other again when I was 16 in Westport at a coffee house. (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
Q: At that point in time, did you continue your friendship between the two of you? A: Did I what? Q: Continue your friendship at that point? A: Yes. We started hanging out more and more from that point, from that point to present. Q: All right. So from that point to present, you're still friends with Byron Case? A: Correct. Q: Did you ever know a girlfriend he dated named Kelly Moffett? A: Yes. Q: How did you meet Kelly Moffett? A: I met Kelly from being introduced by Byron. I think it was the first time that I met her was actually at my apartment in Westport, 1997, probably, around May. Page 909 Q: During the time that those two dated, did you have occasion to see Byron and Kelly together? A: Certainly. Numerous occasions. Q: Did you also know a young lady Anastasia WitbolsFeugen? A: (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
Yes, she was also a freshmen at Lincoln Prep with Byron and I. Q: How well did you know Anastasia? A: Far less than I knew Byron. We had seen each other and hung out intermittently for several months and see each other occasionally socially, friends of friends before that. Q: Did you know a young lady named Tara McDowell? A: Yes. She and I dated from October of '96 until August of '97, about the same time Justin and Anastasia broke up the first time. Q: Just to clarify, you're saying you and Tara broke up in August? A: Yes. August 24th, I believe. Q: Just about the same time Justin and Anastasia were breaking up? A: I think it was within a week definitely. Q: Did you ever know a young man named Justin Bruton? Page 910 A: Yes. He and I met actually before I met Kelly in Westport on the street near a Westport coffee house. He was with Anastasia and that's about the same time that I started seeing her again as well. Q: So you had known Anastasia first? A: Correct. Not closely or intimately at that point, but certainly as an associate and a classmate in several of my classes at Lincoln. (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
Q: And when you met Justin Bruton, he was already seeing or dating Anastasia? A: Yes. For I guess several months at that point. Q: After you met Justin, did you ever hang around with Justin Bruton? A: A couple of occasions independently of Byron and Kelly or Tara and several times, probably not more than half a dozen, with Byron, Kelly and/or Tara. Q: Now, you've already mentioned today the breakup between Anastasia and Justin. What is your knowledge of that, their breakup? Page 911 A: My knowledge of their breakup is more my knowledge of their breakups, because, unlike Tara and I who broke up and kind of stayed broken up, they got together back and forth intermittently between about the same time Tara and I broke up and the beginning of September until the time of her death, to the point where it became a thing of recurring gossip between the circle of friends of whether or not they were back together today, not even this week. Q: So it's fair to say it was on-again-off-again? A: Definitely. Q: Repeatedly? A: Yeah. Q: How did Anastasia respond to this tumultuous relationship on-again-off- again? A: (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
She obviously seemed very hurt by it. Justin, he was the most closed off and emotionally cold person of anybody I ever met. Didn't seem to really like her, appreciate anything. So as he started to take that to her as well, she seemed upset and hurt and would call everyone, you know, Tara, Byron, Kelly, trying to get a hold of him or find out what he had said or whatever. Just trying to get a feel of their relationship. Q: All right. During that time frame on-again-off-again, is it fair to say Anastasia was mainly pursuing Justin as opposed to the other way around? Page 912 A: Predominantly, but not exclusively. Even Justin was back and forth on it. At least a couple of times of, you know, "I'm through with it," you know, and "I'm really not in love with her anymore." And then, you know, within a week or two, even changing his stance. Q: In the weeks leading up to Anastasia's death, would you notice any unusual behavior on the part of Justin Bruton? A: I kind of noticed unusual behavior on the part of Justin Bruton from the time that I met him, so, yes. I mean his behavior, it was -- it was easier to analyze after he had died, because I guess no one really took him seriously at that point. I mean, he had such a fascination or such a desire to get, like, free from the perceived burden of his parents and their, like, financial hold over their life that, you know, he was always masterminding something, killing someone, kidnapping someone. And I guess all of us kind of took it as some like humorous quirk and didn't take it seriously. 'Ms was a couple years before Columbine or any of the outcry to take all such threats seriously. Page 913 Q: I understand you're saying he may have had some weird thoughts or ideas, but can you just give the jury one specific example of that? A: He wanted to go to Oklahoma and rob, kidnap or kill his parents like, you know, kidnap or kill like the church leader out in Independence. And there is a few others that were even more outlandish that I don't even really remember. I guess can't say they were more, because I don't really remember them, but there wasn't just two. I'm having trouble remembering more examples. Q: That's fine. When Justin would mention these wild ideas, did you take it serious? A: (Abraham Kneisley testimony) (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
Certainly not. I mean maybe the most serious -- at some point he would ask me if I could find him a gun, and he had been shooting before when he had his shotgun, but I didn't necessarily put the two together even at that point to take him seriously. Q: Can you remember the time frame when Justin Bruton asked if you could locate a gun for him? A: Probably six weeks or so beforehand, but he didn't know anybody or anything, so he came to me, but I certainly couldn't help him. Page 914 Q: When Justin would talk about these wild schemes, did you have the impression that Byron Case was a participant in these schemes? A: Certainly not an active participant. We were certainly an audience, but that would be the participation level that I would attribute. Sometimes laughing, you know. It was, like, I don't know. No one really took it seriously. It didn't even seem that he did. Apparently he did. Q: Mr. Kneisley, did you consider Anastasia WitbolsFeugen to be a friend of yours? A: We weren't very close. We were starting to hang out. We hung out a couple of times within two weeks or so of her death, and we seemed to be, you know, hanging out more than we had before, but I don't feel like I really got the chance to know her, no. Q: But let me ask this way: Was she an enemy of yours? A: Oh, certainly not. I certainly liked and respected her, but I wasn't really close to her, because we just hadn't had the time. Q: Mr. Kneisley, let me ask you about the evening of October 22nd 1997. Are you familiar with that date? Page 915 A: Yes. That was the date that she got out of the car. (Abraham Kneisley testimony) (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
Q: That evening do you recall what you were doing that evening? A: I was house-sitting for a friend of mine, Paul, Paul Riot in midtown Kansas City. I was at his house. Q: Do you recall that evening, October 22nd 1997, if anybody stopped by during the evening hours? A: Byron, Kelly and Justin stopped by I believe around 8:30 that evening. I don't recall the exact time. It would be more specific in my original statement. Q: That's fine. Do you recall the purpose of this visit from Byron, Kelly and Justin? A: At that time they stopped by, Tara and I had broken up, and I had some of her things. And I had a small list of stuff that she had of mine. And I was trying to make a clean break, so I just asked them to run it over there for me. Q: To be specific -- I know what you're saying, but to be specific, you asked who to do what? A: I asked Kelly, Byron and Justin to do it. They said that it would be like 45 minutes or an hour, something like that because they first had to take Kelly home. Page 916 Q: All right. So, in summary, these people were going to deliver some items as a favor for you? A: Correct. I had paged Byron at the time. Q: That was my next question. Was this an unannounced visit from these three young people? A: No. I had paged them maybe 10 or 15 minutes before they called and maybe half an hour to 45 minutes before they showed up. Q: (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
They came by at your request? A: Correct. Q: When they stopped by to pick up the items to take to Tara McDowell, what was the general conversation? A: They came in. They probably weren't there longer than 15 minutes. It was mostly casual, just a little bit of gossip on whether or not Anastasia and Justin were together. At that time they mentioned her getting out of the car. After I had asked, it just had come up whether or not they were together again, and just the topic of yet another fight and further problems with their relationship. I recall that the most specifically, not because it was the most significant at the time, but because it proved to be the most significant later after all of this happened. Other than that, it's been almost five years, and I have trouble recalling other specifics. Page 917 Q: Sure. At some point in the conversation, you gave them the items and asked them to ran it over to Tara's place? A: Yes. Q: And they casually mentioned Anastasia had jumped out of the car? A: Yes. After a fight and the recurring topic of Justin not being In love with her anymore. Q: Did you see anything unusual in that general conversation that would have caused you to disbelieve the comments about Anastasia jumping out of the car? A: No. They seemed normal. The questions that I have heard of, you know, were they drinking or anything. I mean, I hadn't smelled alcohol or they didn't seem to be on any drugs. I mean, I had at least drank with them before. I certainly know if -- I certainly would have smelled it. I was sitting on the couch right inside the door. They came in and sat down in the same room with me. Certainly someone else on the couch as well, I don't think I could have avoided smelling alcohol. Page 918 Q: (Abraham Kneisley testimony) (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
On any of the three? A: Correct. Q: Let me ask specifically about Mr. Byron Case. Did you smell any signs of liquor about Mr. Byron Case? A: No. Q: Did you see any signs of Justin Bruton appearing unusually upset? A: No. Just remember him coming in with Kelly and Byron kind of as his normal self. I didn't really have any reason to think differently and only specifically recall the night because it was the last time I saw Anastasia alive – not Anastasia. Justin, excuse me. He disappeared. Q: That's fine. So did you see anything unusual from Justin Bruton? A: No, nothing that I specifically recall. Q: In Justin's physical appearance, did you see that he appeared to be pale or shaky? A: No. Q: Or did there appear to be any signs he had been crying? A: No. Page 919 Q: This story that Anastasia jumped out of a car, did that seem to be in line with her normal behavior or did that sound unusual? (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
A: It was certainly a bad neighborhood, so I was worried. But I mean she had been so emotionally involved for so long that I certainly didn't find it hard to believe. Q: Do you know how long they stopped by that evening? A: Like I say, it was probably not much more than 15 minutes because of Kelly's curfew, but other than that, no. Q: When they left, you had the understanding they were taking Kelly to Kelly's house next? A: Correct. Q: Now, after that point, did you ever see Justin Bruton alive again? A: No. As I misstated earlier, no. Q: When did you hear about Anastasia's death? A: I heard about it on I believe the channel 5 news 5 p.m. the next day. I got home -- got back to my parents' house where I was actually living at the time. I was no longer house-sitting. The last day happened to be the night that they stopped by, and I walked in, almost immediately it was on the news. Page 920 Q: What was your reaction? A: My heart jumped into my throat. I hadn't ever known anyone that was killed like that before, and I really had a hard time believing it. I hadn't heard about the body being found or anything, that it had apparently been on the news earlier in the day; and when I heard about it I immediately called Justin. I left a message on his machine intentionally being vague, not wanting to leave that sort of news on an answering machine. Q: (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
What else did you do? A: After calling Justin's house and saying something like, you know, "This is Abraham, give me a call back" and intentionally not saying why, I called Byron -- or not called Byron, but paged Byron, because be was partially living at his dad's house and partially at his mom's. So calling him directly was always kind of difficult. Q: You paged Byron? A: I paged Byron. He called me back from a childhood friend's house and probably relatively quickly, but I couldn't tell you how long, I was so stressed out. I paged him and put in 911, this is really important. And he called me back, and I was just really blunt with it. Something as, "I just saw on the news Anastasia is dead." Page 921 Q: What was Byron Case's reaction? A: Similar to his emotional reaction with most everything in that he wasn't like -- I mean, first disbelief like me, but you could just hear by his like gasps and the way his breathing that be was certainly shocked by it. And then after probably a series of questions where he asked me if I was serious -- I think that was all of our reaction -- he then I think also called or attempted to call Justin and -Q: Did you see anything unusual or suspicious in Byron Case's reaction to this murder? A: To what? Q: Did you see anything unusual or suspicious in Byron Case's reaction to the news? A: No. I mean, it was certainly in line with mine. I mean, you know, shock, combined with disbelief and eventually acceptance. And afterwards I didn't see him until the day of the funeral, because his car wasn't working, and I wasn't driving at the time either. So we didn't have any way to be in touch other than by telephone. Page 922 Q: (Abraham Kneisley testimony) (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
But you bumped into Byron Case at Anastasia's funeral? A: Correct. Went over, you know, said hello, gave my condolences, and we talked a little bit there. I don't know what about. Q: In the days following the murder and the funeral, was there any contact between yourself and Byron Case? A: Can you repeat the question? Q: In the days following the murder and following the funeral, was there continued contact between yourself and Byron Case? A: I'm certain we talked several times on the telephone. Continued news certainly over the few days before Justin's body was found. None of us -- I mean, he had disappeared and things certainly didn't look good for him. And so we were all really worried and just hoping for the best. Q: When you say we were all, did you mean just you and Byron or A: I guess I was speaking to Byron, but I just kind of would assume the same for Kelly or Tara who I wasn't speaking to at the time. Q: I'm all I'm asking, was there continued contact between that group of friends? Page 923 A: Yes. I mean, I spoke with Byron about it usually, find out if he had seen anything, and did everything I could to try and find out if I could keep up-to-date what was going on. Q: During the contact between that circle of friends, was it ever mentioned that everyone had been interviewed by the police? A: (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
Yes. Actually, that's -- I don't know why I didn't mention this before. Byron and Kelly had voluntary gone in and given a statement. And because they and Justin had gone by my house -- or not my house, but the house where I was staying at the time -- the police asked that I go in as well. Q: You gave a voluntary statement? A: I gave a voluntary statement maybe Friday of the following week. As soon as I was asked, they came by and they picked me up. Q: Well, during this time frame, everyone is being interviewed by the police, everyone is going to the funeral, was there constant contact in that circle of friends? Page 924 A: Yes, certainly. Tara didn't have a phone at the time, so a mutual friend had to stop by and give her the news. It was certainly very difficult for her. Other than that, I was certainly in touch with Byron who was mostly staying at Kelly and her mom's house during that week because they, you know, kind of needed each other and Byron's car wasn't working. Q: Did that circle of friends continue to discuss the murder itself? A: At least over the next two years until Kelly and Byron broke up in 1999. Q: Was there any discussion about the details of the murder itself? A: Not as typical means of conversation or topic of conversation, but it certainly came up. Each of them was asked to give repeated testimony to the police, because there is always misunderstandings about what happened for almost five years. So – MS. CRAYON: Your Honor, excuse me. I'm going to object. There is so much hearsay here. I mean, he's not answering Mr. Lance's questions. THE COURT: I'm going to sustain the question as a narrative response. Ms. CRAYON: (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
Thank you. Page 925 (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
BY MR. LANCE: Q: Mr. Kneisley, when you were interviewed by the police in October -- first of all, do you agree you were interviewed by the police in October of ‘97? A: Yes. Q: Mr. Kneisley, when you were interviewed by the police in October of '97, did the police let drop any details about the crime? A: Yes. I mean, that's where most of my initial knowledge of the case came from. I eventually checked around. I mean, I was finding out just like everyone else and -Q: Talking among the circle of friends? A: Talking among the circle of friends. Q: Let me go back to one specific question. During your interview with the police, did the police let drop any details of the crime? A: During or before, yes. Specifically Justin purchasing a shotgun the morning after Anastasia was killed before her body had been identified that he subsequently killed himself with. Q: All right. Did the police let drop to you any details about the murder scene at Lincoln Cemetery? A: I don't remember any specifics. Certainly I mean they weren't being very graphic if they had of I would have discussed it. Page 926 Q: (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
Sure. A: But I mean I think -- I don't know. I felt leaving there like -MS. CRAYON: Your Honor, I object. Non-responsive. THE COURT: Sustained. It's a narrative. When he asks a question, you need to answer his question. You can't editorialize. You need to just answer his question. THE WITNESS: Okay. Thank you. BY MR. LANCE: Q: We're all a little nervous. Let me ask a different question. After Anastasia's death, did you ever see Kelly and Byron in each other's company? A: Almost joined at the hip for the next two years. Q: During all those times, you saw Byron and Kelly in each other's company, did you notice any unusual behavior by Kelly like was she afraid or suspicious of Byron? A: Didn't seem so to me. Certainly not. Q: Switching topics, I want to ask you about June of the year 2001. I'm really jumped way ahead, four years. Page 927 A: Okay. Q: Do you know approximately when Byron Case got arrested for this alleged crime? A: (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
I believe it was June 11th. Q: 2001? A: 2001, correct. Last year. Q: Where were you living at that time? A: I was living -- excuse me -- I was living with my father at that time. Q: In what state? A: Kansas City, Missouri. Q: Did you have any contact with Byron Case in the week prior to his arrest? A: Yes. Well, I had seen him. He had recently moved back within I think about two months. I think he moved back in March. Q: Back from St. Louis? A: Back from St. Louis, correct. He and his girlfriend had broken up, fiancée, and I had tried to call him. I hadn't been successful all weekend. I was starting to wonder. I left probably at least one message. I had gotten a hold of him either the following Monday or Tuesday which would have been I believe June 4th or 5th and -Page 928 Q: Just to clarify, when you reached Byron, this was on the phone, not in person? A: Correct. (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
Q: You reached him on the phone and what happened? A: He seemed really delirious and out of it from fever and was really sick, and I suggested he see a doctor. It didn't seem good. Q: How could you tell over a phone call if a person was sick? A: He seemed to be giving unresponsive or like non sequitur responses to my questions. I mean, I was a little -Q: That's fine. Did you suggest to Mr. Case he might need to see a doctor? A: Yes. Exactly. Like I stated, I mean, that kind of fever -- he said he had a fever. He didn't know how high. MS. CRAYON: Your Honor, I'm going to object to the hearsay. THE COURT: Come on up. (Counsel approached the bench and the following proceedings were had:) Page 929 (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
THE COURT: I think if you want to say -- I think, basically, if you want to get out that Byron told him he was sick, that's fine. MS. CRAYON: One, it's non-responsive. He's going on and on. THE COURT: That's the problem. This witness is extremely narrative. So I mean I can sit here and we can go through hearsay exceptions, but he's giving a speech every time you ask him a question. MR. LANCE: Why don't I try to ask a better question.
THE COURT: I think it's relevant, obviously, because there is going to be some contention of whether he mentioned he was sick on the tape and, if I think that the fact that you know, for example, did he appear to be sick, why did he appear to be sick, he told me he was. Well, that's offered for why he thought he was sick. So, if you want to ask him a leading question and get that out, that's fine, but I think this guy is so narrative, I'm going to sustain these objections. If you want to ask a tight question, great. Page 930 (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
MR. LANCE: I'll try. MS. CRAYON: The other thing, Judge, is that we all understand a lot of hearsay has been coming in here, but I think there is a difference between him trying to get in statements of the defendant and other people, and he's trying to get in specific statements of the defendant through this witness. I think that's improper, and I'm going to ask the Court to direct the witness, once again, to answer only the question that's been asked. THE COURT: I'm not going to direct him. You can object to hearsay or narrative and I'll sustain the objection. What I'm going to ask you to do is ask a tight leading question and get on to something else. MR. LANCE: Yes, Sir. (The proceedings returned to open court.) BY MR. LANCE: Q: Mr. Kneisley, did you suggest to Mr. Case he should seek a doctor? A: Yes. Q: Did you see Mr. Case later that week? Page 931 A: Yes. I ran into him at the coffee house in midtown by UMKC, and he still looked pale and sick, but he said he had seen a doctor. Q: (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
That's fine. I'm satisfied with that answer. Mr. Kneisley, when you had this phone conversation with Mr. Case and then later ran into him the same week, how can you be sure -- are you sure whether or not that was the week of Byron Case's arrest? A: Yes. Q: Do you remember that for sure? A: Yes. MR. LANCE: No further questions. THE COURT: Cross examination. MS. CRAYON: Briefly, Judge. CROSS EXAMINATION BY MS. CRAYON Q: Mr. Kneisley, you and I haven't met before, have we? A: Over the phone. Q: We spoke on the phone one time just a couple days ago, right? A: Correct. Q: And Byron Case is a very good friend of yours; is that fair? Page 932 A: Yes, we've been close for years. (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
Q: And I believe the way you characterized your relationship when we spoke earlier was that he was a very trusted and respected friend of yours? A: Yes. Q: You trust and respect him an awful lot; fair? A: Yes. Q: And you've testified that you knew Kelly through him, Kelly Moffett? A: Yes. Q: And that you met her you believe in May of 1997; is that right? A: Yes. Q: And did you know at that time that Kelly was 14 years old? A: I eventually found out, yes. He was 18. She was 14. Q: Okay. So you knew that. And regarding some of the information that Mr. Lance has asked you about dealing with the day or the evening of October 22nd 1997, which is what we're here talking about primarily -A: Correct. Q: You have a specific memory, do you not, that Kelly, Byron and Justin, all three, came to your apartment; is that fair?
Page 933 A:
(Abraham Kneisley testimony)
It was a house. I was house-sitting, but, yes. Q: The place you were house-sitting, a friend Paul, I think you said? A: Correct. Q: And you remember of them coming and no one acted strange? A: Correct. Q: No one acted like they had been drinking or on drugs? A: Correct. Q: And no one smelled like they had been drinking? A: Correct. Q: And you estimate that time today at about 8 to 8:15; is that right? A: I believe I said 8:30. Q: I'm Sorry? A: If I said 8 to 8:15 in my original statement, I would believe that's more accurate. It's been five years. Q:
But today you said approximately 8:30, and I apologize, that's right. You did say about 8:30. And you are talking about a statement that you had given to Sergeant Kilgore back in December -- excuse me -October 31st 1997. Would you have reason to argue with that date? Page 934 A: I don't have reason to argue with it, but I don't know it either. Q: Okay. Let me show you a copy of your statement. A: All right. Q: If it has date contacted up here, and it says October 31, 1997. A: I'll certainly believe it. Q: All right. And in this statement, if you said that Byron Case -- that you called him, you paged him, and he called you right back? A: Uh-huh. Q: Between 8 and 8:15, and that's what you said in this statement, then you would agree with that; is that right? A: I would assume that's more accurate. It was closer to the date. Q: And, if in this statement you state you were asked whether or not -- well, let me ask you this: Do you recall them telling you what time Anastasia got out of the car? A: Not at this point, no. Q: Would your statement help refresh your recollection? (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
A: Probably, yes. Page 935 Q: I'm going to show you -- this is for you to go ahead and read to yourself, not out loud to the jury. On page 7, partially down only about a third of the way down, this question and this answer, if you would review that for a moment. Does that help refresh your memory? A: Yes. It says 7:30. 1 don't know if that was that night, or subsequently over the following week, but... Q: On October 31, 1997 when they asked you: Did he tell you what time of night did she get out of the car, your answer was: "He said it was 7:30, 1 think"; is that correct? A: We can go with that certainly. Q: Well, is that what you told the detective when he talked to you? A: That's what I told the detective. I'm saying I don't remember now. Q: All right. But you said I think earlier that your statement probably would be more accurate, because it happened closer to the time; fair? A: Correct. Q: You mentioned earlier that Justin Bruton and, if I've got this wrong, please correct me, that he was very emotionally closed off, one of the coldest persons you had ever met? Page 936 A: Yes. He didn't -- I mean, this is personal, but mean he didn't even like sex. He didn't like anything. Q: (Abraham Kneisley testimony) (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
So you say he was just a very cold person; is that fair? A: Sometimes. Cold isn't -Q: Isn't what your testimony was? When Mr. Lance was asking you questions, didn't you say he was one of the most emotionally closed off people you had ever met? A: Yes and I -Q: All right. And you also talked about the fact that Justin would come up with all these schemes and things, and you gave the jury a couple of examples of that; and it's true that you were included, that you didn't get an impression that anybody took him seriously, fair? A: Correct. Q: And when the defense asked you if Mr. Case ever participated in those schemes, I believe that your characterization, he was more of an observer, like the rest of us; is that fair? A: Yeah. I mean, occasionally laughing or playing along, but... Page 937 Q: And would you agree that Justin Bruton and Byron Case were very close friends? A: Yes. Q: And I believe that you said throughout your statement at least to the police that you believe that Justin and Byron lived in the condo together for awhile with Anastasia. They spent a lot of time together; is that right? A: Yeah. I don't think he lived there for longer than a week, but yeah. Q: (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
Week at a time? A: I don't think he officially lived there for more than a week. I know he spent numerous nights there. Q: He spent the night there an awful lot, wouldn't he? A: Yes. Q: You weren't with them all the time? A: Certainly not. Q: And you don't know what Byron Case's participation quote unquote was with these schemes when he wasn't around you, do you? A: Well, I certainly can't testify to that, no. Q: All right. Thank you. Now, you mentioned that Justin Bruton had asked you if you could find a gun for him. And this was just like a couple of weeks or so – Page 938 A: Within six weeks, two months. Some time far enough behind I hadn't really thought about it. Q: But I mean it was in connection with one of his schemes. He talked about moving to Europe. Moving to New Orleans. Let me ask you a pointed question. Okay? And you may answer it. You have testified on direct examination that Justin Bruton, not very far before the murder, asked you if you could find a gun for him; is that fair? A: Yes. Q: (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
And that is the first time that you have said anything like that to any police investigation; is that right? A: I was -- correct. Q: So you never, while you were sitting down with Detective Kilgore on October 31, less than 10 days after Anastasia's body is found and Justin is missing, and you never mentioned anything about this until today; is that right? A: That's correct. Q: And you know an awful lot about this case; is that fair? Page 939 A: Yeah. I've read parts of some of the different statements and -Q: In fact, Mr. Kneisley, you have an entire copy of this case file, don't you? 900 plus pages that you got from Mr. Case's lawyer, not Mr. Lance, but who he was represented by before? A: I don't think it's that many pages. It's partial and it's missing things, but it's certainly a good portion. Q: So the better part of 950 pages worth of police reports and interviews and documents, you have those, don't you? A: Yes. Q: And you not only have them for yourself, but you've shared them with other people involved in this case; for example, Tara McDowell, right? A: A small portion, yes. Q: (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
So you picked out these certain parts in that 950 pages? A: No. I handed it to her. Q: Okay. You handed her the whole big stack, and she decided what she wanted to look at, Tara McDowell, just for an example; is that fair? A: That's the same way I went through it certainly, curious to find out what was going on. I mean, we were all worried about Byron. Page 940 Q: So you've gotten your information about what's going on in this case and what everybody else is going to say or has said from not only the newspaper, right? Is that correct? A: Uh-huh. Q: TV reports; is that correct? A: Yes. Q: And your friend, Paul, who worked at the TV station, you even called him for extra information when it happened; is that right? A: Yeah. I don't think I got anything, but I did call him, yes. Q: In your statement, did you not tell Detective Kilgore that he read to you over the phone what was reported on the news? A: That's not extra information. That's what was in the news. Q: (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
My question was: Did you get any information from news reports and from your friend, Paul, who worked at a TV station? A: Yes. I was very concerned about this case. Q: So you got it from newspaper. You got it -MR. LANCE: Object. I don't think the answer was finished at that point. Page 941 A: I obviously knew both parties. I knew all parties involved, and I've been very worried about the case. BY MS. CRAYON: Q: I understand. I'm just tying to establish that you have gotten lots of information about this case from different sources, including newspaper reports, TV, someone who works at a TV station; now is all of that fair? A: Yes. Q: And you got a lot of information about what's going on from him, haven't you, the defendant, because you have talked to him an awful lot between when this happened and before he was arrested about the case. You've talked to him, haven't you? A: Right. He's my friend. Q: And since he's been arrested and today you have talked to him a lot about what everybody is saying or what the case is about and who is going to testify, all those things; you have talked to him about that, haven't you? A: Well, certainly. Q: (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
All right. And there was lots of rumors going around too down at Westport and these coffee houses and things where you guys would hang out and all the friends, like you've testified on direct, all the circle of friends? Page 942 (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
BY MR. LANCE: Judge, I object to the idea of these rumors. I think that's getting into speculation. THE COURT: Come on up. (Counsel approached the bench and the following proceedings were had:) THE COURT: Okay. What do you -MR. LANCE: I object to this discussion of what the rumors were. THE COURT: I think she has a right to ask him if he has been in places where these people frequented in the past and there had been discussions about the case, I think that that's appropriate. MR. LANCE: My concern is I've told him not to open the door to some of these pretrial -- I'm concerned it's going to lead into some of this pretrial stuff we agreed to keep out. MS. CRAYON: I’m not asking him for a big long answer. I will tell him just answer me yes or no if you want me to. Page 943 (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
THE COURT: I think the idea – MS. CRAYON: That's not where I'm going with it. THE COURT: I think the idea – obviously I think it's appropriate to avoid rumors, but I think, based upon what I would describe as a pretty expansive direct examination, I think she has a right to establish the fact that he has sources of information from a lot of different sources about the case. MR. LANCE:
That's fair. My worry is we're going somewhere. THE COURT: Why don't you tighten it up. Assume you've been in places where it's been discussed. I think your point is pretty close to being made. MS. CRAYON: Yeah, it is. THE COURT: Ask a tight question and go on to something else. MS. CRAYON: Okay. (The proceedings returned to open court.) BY MS. CRAYON: Q: So, Mr. Kneisley, you have been down in the Westport area or the coffee houses or with the people that you all hung around with? Page 944 A: Correct. Q: And you have heard about what everybody is talking happened, is that true? A: Certainly. Q: Since the murder until today; fair? A: Yes. Q: And that's in addition to having an entire copy of what everybody is going to say, whether you chose to read everything or not, true? A: (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
Yes. Q: And back when Mr. Case was first arrested, you actually tried to assist his mother in recording Kelly Moffett on the telephone; is that right? A: I instructed her to call an attorney to get advice at which point -Q: The question I have asked you, Mr. Kneisley, is did you assist -A: I don't believe the suggestion came from me. The suggestion from me was to go to an attorney and ask him, and I said that it might be a good idea, but I didn't know about the information or the legality and to then call an attorney. The attorney mostly suggested making a recording if she -- if Kelly called again. Page 945 Q: Mr. Kneisley, you need to answer my question, all right? Did you assist her? I'm not -- you have made your -A: I said, "Yes. Call an attorney." Q: Did you go to her house and try to help her put a recording device on her telephone? Yes or no. A: Yes. Q: And did you assist her in coming up with a list of questions that you were going to bust Kelly on? Yes or no. A: Yes. Q: During direct examination when Mr. Lance asked you about October 22nd, if you recalled it, you said -- your answer I believe was: "Yeah, that's the night that she got out of the car." You weren't there, were you? (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
A: No, I wasn't. Q: So what you know about what happened on October 22nd out by Lincoln Cemetery and 435 and Truman Road, the information that you know comes from the defendant and from the other sources that we talked about earlier; is that fair? A: Yes, and Kelly herself. Q: Even though Kelly didn't say much of anything when she came by, right? Page 946 A: She never did. MS. CRAYON: I don’t have anything further. THE COURT: Mr. Lance. MR. LANCE: Yes, sir. REDIRECT EXAMINATION BY MR. LANCE Q: Mr. Kneisley, today you testified that you were a friend and acquaintance of Anastasia? A: Yes. Q: Would you help to protect her killer? A: Certainly not. Q: (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
The prosecutor asked why it was never mentioned -- why you never mentioned Justin was interested in getting a gun. Do you remember that question from the prosecutor? A: Yes. Q: Let me try to ask a clear question. In October '97 when you were interviewed by Detective Kilgore, was there any reason why you would not mention to Detective Kilgore that Justin was interested in a gun? A: At the time I think -- not consciously, or specifically, but looking back –Page 947 (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
MS. CRAYON: Your Honor, I'm going to object. THE COURT: I think the question – come on up. (Counsel approached the bench and the following proceedings were had:) THE COURT: I'm going to allow the area of inquiry, but I think the question is asking him to speculate. In other words, why he didn’t put it in his statement. MS. CRAYON: And his answer is, as it has been stated, no reason then but as I look back, I probably -- I mean, that's clearly speculation. MR. LANCE: I’ll withdraw the question. THE COURT: All right. (The proceedings returned to open court.) BY MR. LANCE Q: Mr. Kneisley, it came out through the testimony that you have read numerous parts of the file? A:
Yes. Q: Including other witnesses' statements? A: Yes. Q: Have you used any of that information to shape or form your testimony for today's trial? Page 948 A: I have intentionally not done so. I have just helped them find an attorney, and I mean it was very difficult on the family when Byron was arrested. MR. LANCE: No further questions. THE COURT: Further? MS. CRAYON: No, Your Honor. Thank you. THE COURT: Thank you, Mr. Kneisley. Appreciate your testimony. (The witness was excused.) (Abraham Kneisley testimony)
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