MARY’S STORY AND THE MARY BYRON PROJECT MISSION
Mary Byron left work on the evening of December 6th, 1993 carrying the Happy Birthday balloons she received from her co-workers. She had just returned to work, trying to heal her wounds from the vicious rape and assault inflicted by her ex-boyfriend a few weeks before. Her last customer that evening was her aunt, to whom she confided that she had just started to feel safe because the perpetrator was in jail.
Neither Mary nor her family had been made aware that she, in fact, was far from safe. Mary’s attacker had been released on bail and was waiting for her to get into her car after work so he could murder her. With the gun he had purchased for that purpose, he fired seven shots at point-blank range, killing her but leaving the balloons as a statement and his final insult to her family. He killed her on her 21st birthday.
The community was stunned and outraged and, as a result, county officials and information technology specialists worked diligently to design a system that would let crime victimsknow whether or not their offenders were in jail, where they were being held and when they were released. That system is VINE®- Victim Information and Notification Everyday- and it is
available today in over 2,000 communities, in 48 states and Puerto Rico.
Seven years after their daughter’s murder, and six years after the creation of VINE, Pat and John Byron spearheaded the creation of The Mary Byron Project, an organization dedicated to finding an end to intimate partner violence. Intimate partner violence is an epidemic throughout the United States, and, through its Celebrating Solutions and Roth Awards, The Mary Byron Project has awarded more than $1 million to programs across the nation that have implemented innovative solutions to end intimate partner violence.
The Mary Byron Project is recognized as a national thought leader committed to enhancing justice to end intimate partner violence because we believe that when people like Mary Byron believe the law is protecting them, it should actually do so.
We are focusing on appellate advocacy, legal education, and policy work to improve a system that thus far has failed to quell intimate partner violence.