John Mark Byers - commentary
My perspective on Mark Byers was shaped by the years I spent as a social worker. The most telling piece of evidence are the old scars on his stepson's body, the victim, Chris Byers. The medical examiner specified three scars, two on his face, one on his chest and "a few" more on his lower extremities. From the perspective of a social worker, if a client says that his child's scar was caused by an accident, this is believeable for a single scar. If the child has two scars, you get the story, "the kid is accident prone," and there should be an investigation. Three and the child should be removed from the family during the investigation. How many scars did Chris Byers have? Three specified and "a few" more suggests a minimum of six. In this instance, the child not only had the scars, the child ended up murdered.
In cases of child abuse, the parents will say, "Oh, that scar, he fell down the stairs." For multiple scars such statements assume stupidity or incompetence on the part of the social worker. They are for suckers only, like the declaration that the initials of Mark Byers supremacist group "GFBD" meant "Going Fishing With Bill Deal," or like assertions in earlier days that such white supremacist groups are civic organizations. And there are Byers various claims that his dark past was before his son's murder (and then he became reformed). Or was after his son's murder when he fell apart (and then he became reformed). Or he's been clean since prison. . . even though he continues to threaten people using the name and his association with a violent white supremacy group. This is simple sociopathy. But does it prove he's a murderer?
The medical examiner stated at trial the time of death was between 1 am and 7 am. For this time period Mark Byers has virtually no corroborated alibi. The closest corroboration during this period is Melissa Byers saying they finished searching at 2 to 3 am. Mark Byers, however negated this by saying he searched until 4:30 am and in the same sentence declaring he walked within ten or fifteen feet of where the bodies were found.
Did Mark Byers have time to commit the murders? Yes. It is simple to construct a scenario consistent with his alibi and the evidence that provides opportunity for the murders. Although not corroborated he said encountered Lieutenant Ball "at bout 1:30, quarter 'til 2." According to Byers, the officer went on to say, ". . .maybe they have found an abandoned house or a shed in somebody's backyard or a building and they've got up in that building, you know, for cover. Cause the mosquitos, it was warm that night, and mosquitos were kind of bad. So, uh, when he said that, I thought of an abandoned house down the street from me, so I went and looked in that."
Perhaps Byers encountered the children in an abandoned house and furious at Chris, killed him. He killed the other two because they were witnesses. At a time approaching 4:30 am, when there is no record of anyone else looking, he took the bodies and bicycles up to the back of the Blue Beacon. (There are no interviews with Blue Beacon employees concerning the after midnight hours.)
Did this scenario happen? Probably not. It is also simple to construct a dozen other scenarios. These opportunities multiply if an accomplice is considered. Furthermore, other scenarios can be created for other suspects that don't include Mark Byers. But the scars on Chris Byers and Mark Byers' own words and behavior are sober testimony that keeps him well on top of the suspect list.
Copyright © 2008 Martin David Hill