The Mary Byron Project is named in honor of a woman whose time was cut short.
Mary had been raped, assaulted, and stalked by her former boyfriend in late 1993. He was arrested and jailed for these crimes, but someone posted his bail and he was released. There was no way for Mary to know.
On the evening of December 6, 1993, Mary sat in her car as it warmed up after leaving her job at the Mall St. Matthews. Her former boyfriend approached from the driver’s side and fired seven bullets into her head and chest at point blank range, killing her. It was Mary’s 21st birthday.
The community was stunned and outraged. County officials and engineers worked diligently to design a system that would let crime victims know whether their offenders are in jail, where they are held, and when they are released.
Exactly one year after Mary’s murder, Jefferson County became the first community to institute automated telephone notification for crime victims and other concerned citizens. That system is VINE® — The National Victim Notification Network, now used in thousands of communities across the nation.
John Byron, Mary’s father, couldn’t help but think about what might have been. After VINE was introduced, he said, “If only they’d had this a year ago, Mary would be alive.”
“If only…” Time and time again, these words are uttered across our nation. Yet, solutions are within our grasp. The Mary Byron Project was established with that quest in mind.