'Juliet' Teen, Tylar Witt, Describes Her 'Romeo,' Steven Colver, Killing Mom

Teen couple allegedly carried out plot in bid to avert statutory rape charge.

ByABC News
June 3, 2011, 5:56 PM

June 3, 2011 — -- Tylar Witt told a courtroom this week that as a 14-year-old, she and her then-19-year-old boyfriend, Steven Colver, considered themselves a modern-day Romeo and Juliet.

When her mother, Joanne Witt, threatened to have Colver charged with statutory rape, she testified, they concluded that like Shakespeare's doomed lovers they might have to die because of their passions.

But instead of killing themselves, Tylar Witt testified Wednesday and Thursday, they hatched a plot to kill her 47-year-old mother while she slept -- and Colver allegedly went into the mother's El Dorado Hills, Calif., bedroom to carry it out on June 12, 2009, as she stood outside the door.

A lawyer for Colver, now 21, has suggested Tylar Witt, not Colver, did the killing.

However, prosecutors maintain Colver stabbed Joanne Witt at least 20 times, eventually killing her with a slash to the throat.

"I put my hands on my ears, closed my eyes, and hummed," Tylar Witt testified, according to unofficial court logs published by ABC News Sacramento, Calif., affiliate, KXTV.

Witt, now 16, said that, at one point, her mother begged Colver to stop. Once there was silence, Colver emerged from the bedroom with blood-soaked pants and a single teardrop under his eye.

"He looked in shock," Witt said, according to KXTV's live blog of the court proceedings. "I hugged him and told him everything was going to be OK."

Witt told the court that the plot began when her mother gave the teen's diary containing explicit details of the teenage couple's sexual encounters to police as part of the statutory rape complaint against the older boyfriend.

The couple met in December 2008 at a local coffee shop, she said, adding that the relationship quickly developed.

"He told me that he loved me and I realized that I felt the same way about him," Witt said. "If he told me to jump off a bridge, I would have done it."

Witt's mother initially approved of Colver, allowing him to move into the family home, she said, after Colver told her the relationship with her daughter was merely a brother-sister relationship.

But things quickly changed as the two began using marijuana, cocaine, and ecstasy, Witt said, adding that, eventually, the couple's relationship turned sexual.

Soon, she said, her mother caught her naked in the Colver's room. Witt's mother kicked the boy out and forbade the relationship.

Joanne Witt opened a statutory complaint against Colver. She took her daughter's diary and gave it to police.

"I went into a full-blown panic attack, hyperventilating, screaming, shaking," Tylar Witt said. "Everything was in that diary. There was no way he was going to get out of the charges."

The two teens discussed running away to San Francisco to commit suicide on their four-month anniversary.

"We had talked about the Romeo and Juliet scenario," Witt said, according KXTV's live blog of the court proceedings, "He had said it would only be the last resort. I said it was the last resort."

However, Witt said she knew her mom would call police if she went missing. She said the only way to follow through with their plan would to drug her mom.

Witt said they planned to spike one of Joanne's alcohol bottles with drugs so she would fall asleep.

The night of the murder, according to Witt's testimony, she had Colver meet her at the local school.

"We waited outside and smoked a couple cigarettes," Witt told the court, "I felt really edgy. He had a knife, he showed it to me when we were standing outside."

Colver brought a butcher knife from his restaurant job, she said.

"He was posing, sort of like practicing. He was about a foot and a half away from the bed," she continued, "I stood up, I was in the doorway, I couldn't do it, I couldn't go inside."