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Colver trial jury selection begins

By May 3, 2011

Jury selection for the trial of suspected murderer Steven Paul Colver began Tuesday morning in Placerville’s Main Street Courthouse.

Jury selection is expected to last two days, a court official told the Mountain Democrat.

Colver, 21, is accused of helping his former girlfriend plan and execute the murder of her mother in 2009.

Colver’s former lover, Tylar Marie Witt, 15, confessed last year to killing her mother, 47-year-old Joanne Witt.

In September 2010 she pleaded guilty to her mother’s first-degree murder and admitted to two special circumstances: lying in wait and killing a witness.

Court documents state Tylar and Colver killed Joanne Witt because the mother planned on filing statutory rape charges against Colver after finding the two of them together, naked.

Tylar had initially pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Although she was 14 at the time of the killing, prosecutors had planned to try her as an adult.

But under the accepted plea bargain, she will serve 15 years to life if she cooperates with prosecutors. She is expected to take the witness stand during Colver’s trial.

If Tylar fulfills her end of the bargain, her murder conviction will be reduced to second-degree and the two special circumstances will be dropped.

If she does not, though, 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 El Dorado Hills home she shared with her daughter and, at one point, Colver.

Prosecutors allege Colver, then 19, slashed Joanne Witt’s throat and stabbed her more than 20 times.

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

Colver has pleaded not guilty to the killing.

Attorneys in the case expect the trial to last 36 days.

[email protected]

Jim Ratajczak

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