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Colver trial pushed back

By November 19, 2010

Steven Colver

Steven Colver

The start of suspected killer Steven Tyler Colver’s trial was delayed by several months Friday morning.

Colver, 20, is accused of killing El Dorado Hills resident Joanne Witt in June 2009. Witt was the mother of Colver’s former lover, Tylar.

Citing the recent receipt of 37,000 pages of discovery, defense attorney Dain Weiner filed a motion to have the start of his client’s trial pushed back. It was initially slated to begin in February 2011.

El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Daniel B. Proud chose May 3, 2011, as the new start date with a readiness and settlement conference set for March 4, 2011.

Prosecutors allege Colver slashed Joanne Witt’s throat and stabbed her more than 20 times. Court documents state Tylar Witt and Colver killed Joanne Witt because the mother planned on filing statutory rape charges against Colver after finding the two teens, then 14 and 19, naked together.

In Septemeber, Tylar Witt, 15, pleaded guilty to her mother’s first-degree murder. She also admitted two special circumstances: lying in wait and killing a witness.

Tylar had initially pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Although she was 14 at the time of the killing, Tylar was going to be tried as an adult. But with Tylar’s plea bargain, she will serve 15 years to life if she cooperates with prosecutors.

Both defendants appeared in an El Dorado County Courthouse Friday morning.

Tylar Witt sat with attorney Mark Ralphs on one end of the jury box while Colver, sporting a slicked-back hairdo, conversed with Weiner on the opposite end.

Should the May 2011 trial be necessary, Tylar is expected to take the witness stand, per terms of her plea bargain. If she fulfills the plea agreement’s stipulations, her first-degree murder conviction will be reduced to second-degree and the two special circumstances will be dropped. If Tylar fails to hold up her end of the bargain, her sentence will increase to 25 years to life in prison, the maximum penalty she faced had she stood trial.

In June 2009 Joanne Witt’s body was found in the home she shared with her daughter and, at one point, Colver.

The teens fled to the Bay Area where they had reportedly planned on committing suicide. They were found by San Bruno police days after Joanne Witt’s body was discovered.

Judge Proud said Friday he anticipated a 36-day trial.

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Jim Ratajczak

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