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"It's strange for me when we're doing a Found thing in Kansas City," Rothbart says. "You walk around Westport and can't help but think of it as Byron's old stomping grounds. His absence from Kansas City is really noticeable to me. And it just seems like such a massive injustice — knowing Byron, it's just incomprehensible to me that anyone could think he's capable of committing that crime. If he did it, I would have to be getting duped by an absolute mastermind criminal."
He goes on: "And I think that is what the family and friends of the victim think — they believe that justice was served. But I feel like they don't really know Byron. Imagine if your best friend was locked up for a murder, and he's telling you he didn't do it? I don't know how else to explain it. And he has just stayed so optimistic throughout. He's found a way to endure this nightmare.
"John Allen continues to uncover important, scientific problems with Byron's conviction, and the Innocence Project does amazing work," Rothbart continues. "But since he wasn't convicted with much physical evidence, there isn't much physical evidence to overturn."
Case's best shot at release is a pardon from Gov. Jay Nixon. Case's attorneys have applied for a pardon and met with Nixon's legal team. "I'm not very familiar with the process, so I don't really know exactly what's going on," Rothbart says. "But from what I've heard, it sounds like they were at least an attentive audience. Whether that will move into action is hard to say. It's rare for governors to pardon."
It's true: A felon who has a hard time readjusting to the outside world, struggles to find employment, and eventually commits a crime makes bad PR for a sitting politician. In a letter he recently wrote to Nixon on Case's behalf, Rothbart assured Nixon that Case would have a soft landing if he were let out. Rothbart says, "I told him if Byron were released, he would have a full-time job waiting for him with Found magazine."