An arrest affidavit released in a Shawnee domestic-related homicide reveals the suspect called and told a friend he was going to kill his wife after he allegedly found upsetting text messages on her cell phone. Her body was found a short time later in the master bedroom of the couple’s home.
Shawnee police investigated the homicide of Cathy Byus, 36, early Thursday morning at 27 Bella Vista in Granada Estates. Officers, upon arrival, arrested her husband, Justin Byus, 25.
Justin Byus remains jailed without bond on a first-degree murder complaint. Formal charges have not been filed.
The warrant in the case shows a friend of the suspect called police after the suspect confided in him that he had shot and killed Cathy Byus.
That friend told police the couple fought nearly every night. He also was at the couple’s home Wednesday evening, where they all had dinner.
That evening, Justin and Cathy Byus got into an argument before Justin Byus and his friend went to a strip club in Oklahoma City, where the suspect drank a “bucket of beer,” the warrant reads.
The two friends returned to the Shawnee area about 2:15 a.m. Thursday, where Justin Byus drove the friend to his house in Tecumseh, running off the road once. Justin Byus dropped the friend off and went home.
A short time after Byus returned home about 3 a.m. Thursday, according to the warrant, Justin Byus called the same friend and said “he had gotten Cathy’s cell phone and discovered that she was texting another guy and was making fun of him to the other guy.”
Further, the warrant shows, Justin Byus told the friend he found a sexually explicit picture of that man’s body on his wife’s cell phone.
He also told the friend “that he was very mad and he was going to kill her,” the warrant reads.
The friend told Justin Byus “not to do anything stupid,” for which Justin Byus replied to him, “Nah, I’m OK, I won’t do anything,” adding he was going to “cool off” even though he was upset, the warrant shows.
The phone call ended.
A short time later, Justin Byus called the friend again, several times. The friend told detectives that he ignored two or three of the calls then answered.
Page 2 of 3 -
“He said Justin told him had had killed her,” the detective’s affidavit shows, but the friend told officers he didn’t believe Justin Byus, who then said that he had shot his wife in the face and neck.
The friend tried to call Justin Byus back a few times before Justin Byus answered, where he said again that he had shot his wife.
The last call occurred about 3:50 a.m. and the friend immediately called 911 to report the shooting in Shawnee, and then called Tecumseh police because he was afraid Justin Byus might arrive at his home because he had confessed the murder to him, the warrant shows.
When Shawnee police arrived at the couple’s home in Shawnee, Byus was out in the yard, where he was immediately detained. He was later arrested on the murder complaint.
As Shawnee police searched the home, they found the body of Cathy Byus in the master bedroom. The affidavit shows she was lying on her back in her bed and “was bloody and dead.”
The warrant indicates that the victim was covered by a blanket and her cell phone was in her left hand.
Police found a toddler unharmed in another bedroom.
The affidavit indicates the victim had a gunshot wound to her left cheek. An official report is still awaited on her autopsy from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
The death of Cathy Byus is another tragedy for a family that’s already seen so much of it.
Cathy Byus, who grew up in Bethel Acres and graduated Bethel High School in 1995, experienced a family tragedy in 2010 when her parents, Gary and Linda Haas of Tecumseh, were murdered. The retired couple, who loved to travel by RV, was vacationing in New Mexico and was killed there after three inmates escaped from an Arizona prison.
Their deaths occurred in August 2010, just months after Cathy and Justin Byus married in May 2010. Cathy Byus also was expecting a child during that time.
Justin and Cathy Byus had a son, James, the toddler who was found unharmed in the home. It is still unknown if the child is in protective custody or may be staying with relatives.
Lauren Bingham, who grew up and attended school in Bethel Acres with Cathy Byus, said the two had lost touch but reconnected as friends through Facebook in recent years. News of the homicide was quite a shock for Bingham.
Page 3 of 3 -
“I was heartbroken,” Bingham said, adding Cathy Byus didn’t have much family. She said Cathy Byus often spoke about how much it hurt her to know that her son would grow up without knowing her parents — his grandparents.
“Now her poor baby has to grow up without her,” Bingham said. “She adored her boy and she was proud of her home.”
Justin and Cathy Byus purchased the upscale home in Granada Estates just last year. Following the deaths of Gary and Linda Haas, Cathy Byus and other members of her family filed a lawsuit against the private prison in Arizona where the inmates accused in their deaths had escaped. The results and any amounts awarded to Cathy Byus in that lawsuit were never disclosed.
Justin Byus does a have a prior criminal record. Justin Byus was charged in April 2006 with the felony of assault and battery on an employee of a juvenile detention facility.
And just last month, he was formally charged with misdemeanors of driving with a suspended license and careless driving.
Watch for updates.