The VINE System came about after the Jefferson County
murder of Mary
The system is in place to protect victims of crimes
from the suspect. If the suspect is transferred from
one jail to another, escapes, or released from custody
the VINE System will automatically notify the victim.
Setting VINE Up
For KY call 1-800-511-1670 or visit www.vinelink.com
If you forget your PIN you can contact Appriss at 1-502-564-5061
or 1-877-OVS-6818 (toll-free).
The Mary Byron Story
The first bullet was fatal, but the gunman squeezed
the trigger on his 9 mm semi-automatic handgun six more
times. Mary Francis Byron slumped in her seat after
work on Monday - dead on her 21st birthday. "She
probably never knew what hit her," Norm Mayer,
chief of the St. Matthews Police Department, said yesterday.
She never even knew, a family member said in an interview,
that the alleged gunman - Donavan Harris, who was already
charged with kidnapping and raping her at gunpoint less
than three weeks ago - had been released on bond from
Harris was arrested Nov. 19, charged with holding Byron
at gunpoint for more than three hours and forcing her
to have sex with him. The arrest slip called Harris
her former boyfriend. Harris had been stalking Byron
for some time before the rape, Mayer said. Jeffersontown
police said they had no record of complaints of stalking.
Harris, 24, was charged with rape, kidnapping and sexual
abuse. The gun was confiscated. His bond was set at
$26,000, and Circuit Judge William McAnutley declined
to reduce it.
Up to that point, said Helen Kinton, president of the
Kentucky Domestic Violence Association, the system was
working perfectly. But then on Dec. 1, Harris' sister,
Tonia Landherr, posted his bond. Harris got another
gun. And now he is being held for Byron's murder. No
one told Byron, her family, the police or even the prosecutors
in the case that Harris was out of jail. She never knew
she was in danger.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney John Balliet, who
prepared the grand jury case last week, said "it
was news to me" that bond had been posted for Donavan
Harris. "I was shocked to see Mary Byron's name
as the person he shot," Balliet said. "It's
so sad.' Kinton said, "The system should flag domestic-violence
perpetrators when they come in jail,so they will be
aware there's a corresponding victim out there who will
know that the minute he gets out, her life is in danger."
Sherry Currens, executive director of the Kentucky
Domestic Violence Association, has been pushing for
notification laws for some time but has gotten only
lukewarm support. "The problem is the practicality
of it," Currens said. Most domestic-violence perpetrators
are held in local jails, so state officials have little
control over them." Still, Currens and Kinton think
a new state law should require that victims be notified
when their assailants make bond. Across Kentucky, just
in the past two weeks, four women have been killed in
domestic-violence cases. "It clearly could be done
and it needs to be done," Currens said.
When Byron left her job as a hairdresser at J.C. Penney
in the mall St. Mathews, Harris was waiting, police
said. As she warmed up her car in the cold night air
about 8:45 p.m., Harris fired into the car, police said.
The first shot shattered the driver's side window, and
Byron's assailant moved even closer. Bullets fired at
close range crashed into her side, her shoulder and
Reprinted from: The Courier Journal May 14, 1996
The VINE Company, based in Louisville, Kentucky, incorporated
in 1995 for the purpose of developing and providing
automated information services for criminal justice
agencies. The company's mission, "Serving criminal
justice through automated technology," began in
1993 with the creation of VINE, Victim Information and
After the murder of Mary Byron in Jefferson County,
KY, in December of 1993, local officials began searching
for a method of notifying crime victims when their attackers
were released from jail. They soon found that throughout
the United States there was no fast, effective means
for providing this type of notification. Based on these
findings, Jefferson County set out to create a first-of-its-kind
notifications service utilizing state-of-the-art computer
The VINE Company was selected to develop the automated
component of the service. The result was Victim Information
and Notification Everyday. The VINE system, an advanced
computer network, integrated the existing inmate database
at the Jefferson County Jail with a centralized telephone
From this breakthrough in technology, The VINE Company
pioneered the Call Center approach to tracking inmate
data and notifying victims of violent crimes when their
attackers are released from custody. Toll-free VINE
hotlines connect victims in communities large and small
throughout the United States to vital inmate information.
The national Call center services more than 450 communities
across the United States and Canada.
While expanding nationally, The VINE Company is focused
on enhancing current VINE programs and creating new
products to more fully serve the criminal justice field.
VINE has evolved to include court, charge and bail information,
and notification of significant case events. As an optional
service, VINE operators are available to provide personal
attention to callers who may need additional assistance
in checking on an offender or registering for notification.