El Dorado County

TYLAR WITT – Teen Killer (but not a JLWOP case)

June 1, 2011

RB Colver 25A.jpgTylar Witt is escorted into the courtroom at the El Dorado County courthouse in Placerville on Wednesday. Photo by Randall Benton

By Peter Hecht

Tylar Marie Witt, testifying Wednesday against her former teen lover in the murder of her mother, told of being occupied by three personalities as she endured a tortured relationship with mother, Joanne M. Witt, and later plotted her killing. She said there was Tylar herself, who was then an unsettled 14-year-old girl, and “Alex,” her inner “angel” and “Toby,” a demon from Hell who lurked “inside me.” “Three souls crowded in one body,” Witt testified. Appearing calm, composed and articulate, Witt, now 16, testified in detail about her emotional condition and about the night she summoned Steven Paul Colver, then 19, to kill Joanne Witt in the bedroom of her gated home in El Dorado Hills. On the witness stand, she described how she lost her nerve as her boyfriend carried out the killing of Joanne Witt on June 12, 2009 after the mother gave the girl’s diary to police as part of a statutory rape investigation. Wearing a purple sweatshirt from juvenile hall, Witt testified about Steven Paul Colver armed with a butcher knife from his restaurant ascending the stairs to Joanne’s Witt’s bedroom after the mother fell asleep. She said she was carrying a kitchen knife. As Colver entered the room and began practicing slashing motions over Joanne Witt’s bed, Witt said, “A knife in my hand, I turned to go into the room. I stood up and I was in the doorway. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t go inside.” She said she dropped to the floor just outside the bedroom as her mother was being brutally stabbed to death and “I put my hands on my ears, closed my eyes and hummed.” She testified that Colver emerged with blood soaking a pants leg and a “tear drop” of blood on his face. “He was holding the knife. He was just standing there at the stairs,” she said. “I told him everything was going to be OK.” She also testified of her fury over her mother giving police her diary detailing a sexual relationship with Colver. The girl said she told Colver that they needed to act on a “Romeo and Juliet” suicide pact and said they decided Joanne Witt needed to die. A day before her mother’s murder, Witt said she erupted in anger and panic when Joanne Witt told her she had given El Dorado County detectives her diary detailing the then 14-year-old girl’s sexual relationship with Colver. “I was in shock and then I went into a full-blown panic attack, hyperventilating, screaming, shaking ” Witt testified in a Placerville courtroom, where her boyfriend is being tried for brutally stabbing her mother to death June 12, 2009. “Everything was in that diary. There was no way he was going to get out of the charges.” She told of a hasty meeting with the boyfriend, known as “Boston” for a speech impediment that gave him a New England accent, at her home after Joanne Witt had left. She said they decided to go to San Francisco to kill themselves on the following Monday. “We had talked about the Romeo and Juliet scenario,” Witt said. “He (Colver) had said it would only be the last resort. I said it was the last resort.” Witt said the pair planned to flee on a Friday but feared that they would be caught before taking their lives if Joanne Witt called police about her disappearance. So, she testified calmly, they decided to kill her. “The only person who would notice me gone and call police and point a finger at Boston would be my mother,” Witt testified. Prosecutors allege that Colver brutally stabbed Joanne Witt to death in her El Dorado Hills house after she kicked him out of her home and reported him to authorities for statutory rape. Tylar Witt has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. She opened her testimony this morning describing her forbidden romance and fierce love for Colver, who became her boyfriend two months before renting a room at her house. “I trusted him more than I trusted anyone,” Witt said shortly after taking the witness stand. “And I love him more than anybody or anything. If he told me to jump off a bridge and I asked him why and he said, ‘Just trust me,’ I would have done it.” Tylar Witt told of a troubled relationship with her mother over Joanne Witt’s drinking. She also described her love for Colver, whom she saw as a protector after they began a relationship in 2009. She described Colver, whom she met at a coffee store at the El Dorado Hills Town Center, picking her up after school most every afternoon, discussed their sexual relationship and their use of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy. She testified how Colver was the one she turned to because Joanne Witt “would drink and when she would drink she was very hard to get along with.” She said she was “frustrated, sad and mad” over her mother’s drinking and once even called police when her mother’s speech was badly slurred from drinking and Joanne Witt retreated to a bathroom and refused to come out. She also told of her mother catching her, naked and hiding in a utility room in a room Colver rented at her house, and her fear that she would lose him after Joanne Witt kicked Colver out. “I became incapable of dealing with stress myself,” she said. “I needed him. I couldn’t deal with things without him.” Witt, whom prosecutors say summoned Colver to kill her mother but didn’t participate in the stabbing, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in a plea deal that could free her on parole at age 29. Dan Weiner, attorney for Colver, who faces 25 years to life for first-degree murder, said it was the girl who killed her mother. He asserted in opening trial statements that Colver arrived only after Witt called him after the fact. A book found in a bedside table by Joanne Witt’s body seemed to speak to a tortuous relationship between mother and daughter. It was a parenting book called “Parenting Your Out-of-Control Teenager.” Tyar Witt’s grandfather, Norbert Witt, testified earlier in the trial that the girl had run away in the past and once – at age 5 – she was placed in his home for six months after Joanne Witt was reported to child welfare workers after slapping the girl on the way to daycare. But he also spoke of the love of a single mother who wanted the best for her daughter, who introduced her to piano and violin, horseback riding and skiing. After Joanne Witt’s murder, Norbert Witt said he found a note from Tylar that Joanne had saved. It talked about running away once more, but added: “As much as you think I don’t love you, I do. Not because I am your daughter. But you are my best friend.” But prosecutors say the relationship turned angry when Joanne Witt ordered Colver out of the room he rented in April 2009. Colver had told Joanne Witt he was gay and a big brother figure to Tylar Witt, prosecutors said. “My mother is driving me insane. I can’t stand her company for more than five minutes. I hate her,” a detective read in court from Witt’s journal. “She is bipolarly (sic) insane and is turning me into the same thing. I just wish she would die, somehow, some way … and leave me the (expletive) alone.” On June 11, the day before her mother’s murder, Tylar Witt met with El Dorado County detectives investigating the statutory rape complaint. When she denied a romantic relationship, authorities say, her mother turned over her diary. That morning, a friend said he had a cigarette break with Tylar Witt during summer school at Oak Ridge High School and she told him she wanted her mother dead. “She said, ‘If she died, I wouldn’t be sad,’ ” said Dilan Deutsch. “I called her a liar. I said, ‘You really believe you won’t be sad?’ She said, ‘No, I would be genuinely happy, happy.’ ” After her mother handed over her diary to detectives, prosecutors say, Witt urgently called Colver at his restaurant job in Folsom and the two began a series of telephone conversations plotting her mother’s murder. They say shortly before midnight, after Joanne Witt was asleep, she summoned Colver to the home. The girl later wrote a journal story, called the “Killer and his Raven” that described teen lovers driven to kill by a controlling mother. The story went on to say the girl “spiked her mother’s whisky with herbs from the forest” and that “at round one in the morning the girl snuck the boy into her house. He stabbed her in her sleep, killing her and freeing themselves.” Authorities say Witt told a friend she spike her mother’s brandy with Vicodin so she would pass out, then called Colver. Toxicology reports later revealed normal prescription levels of Valium – not Vicodin – in her mother’s system. But Deputy District Attorney Lisette Suder said the girl looked around for something to dump into her mother’s drink – and ended up spiking it with a harmless vitamin supplement. Suder said in her opening arguments that Colver and Witt ascended a staircase at her mother’s elegant El Dorado Hills home, with Colver holding a chef’s knife taken from his restaurant job and Witt with a kitchen knife. But she said the girl collapsed on the floor in a fetal ball when Colver warmed up, practicing slashing motions outside the bedroom. Joanne Witt was stabbed at least 20 times. She died of a gaping wound on her neck. Earlier in the trial, Matthew Widman, 19, a friend known as “God,” testified that Colver showed him a bloody knife as the three teens smoked marijuana and used cocaine at Colver’s father’s house. He said Colver described plunging the knife into Joanne Witt and that Tylar said she watched her mother die.In one of two suicide notes authorities say Tylar Witt left at a Holiday Inn in San Francisco, where Colver and Witt fled after the murder, the girl left angry words for her mother.
Read more: http://blogs.sacbee.com/crime/archives/2011/06/witt-testifies.html#ixzz1O8R1kla2