The Mary Byron Project was established in 2000 in memory of the young woman whose tragic murder led to the creation of automated crime victim notification technologies. Our mission is to enhance justice to end intimate partner violence. We are inspired by the belief that people like Mary who think the law is protecting them should, in fact, be protected by the law. We seek to enhance justice through appellate advocacy, legislative and policy work, and education and training.
Please note that The Mary Byron Project is not a crisis center and does not provide any emergency services such as counseling, housing, or financial assistance. If you're looking for these types of assistance, please refer to our list of resources which cover a wide variety of needs.
THE MARY BYRON STORY
A TRAGIC ENDING MARKS OUR BEGINNING
Seven years after their daughter's murder and six years after the creation of automated victim notification technology (VINE), Pat and John Byron spearheaded the creation of the Mary Byron Project, an organization dedicated to finding innovations that save lives.
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. 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, Kentucky 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.