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Colver trial: Inside Room 2204

By May 25, 2011

Shortly after Joanne Witt’s brutal, violent killing in June 2009, Steven “Boston” Colver and his then-girlfriend, Tylar Marie Witt, checked into a San Francisco Holiday Inn for one final hurrah before killing themselves.

At least, that was the plan.

But the self-styled star-crossed lovers failed in their suicide attempt and were arrested by San Bruno police on June 17, 2009.

Now, nearly two years after the 47-year-old single mother’s body was found by sheriff’s deputies, Colver, 21, stands accused of murdering the woman who once welcomed him into her home.

On Thursday afternoon, El Dorado County Sheriff’s detective Jeff Leikauf was called to the witness stand by prosecutors to give jurors an inside look into Room 2204, where the young couple spent their final days on the run in the City by the Bay.

Leikauf, with help from the San Francisco Police Department, searched the room on June 16, 2009 — one day before Colver and Witt were picked up by authorities.

Deputy district attorney Lisette Suder displayed slides of the untouched hotel room for the jury.

The room was littered with boxes and bags. Cups, cans, clothes and food items were strewn about with little regard for cleanliness.

On top of the closet rested a half-eaten red velvet cake. On the ground were several boxes of d-CON rat poison.

A bedsheet bearing a red stain appeared to have been tossed into a corner of the room.

Detectives also found a glass pipe containing burnt marijuana, packages of instant noodles, a “Donnie Darko” DVD, Colver’s Oak Ridge High School ID card.

In the restroom, authorities found several towels, also with reddish stains on them.

“The room was pretty trashed, so to speak,” said Leikauf.

Leikauf drew attention to two plastic bowls that were found in the room containing a not-so-lethal concoction of the red velvet cake, breakfast cereal and rat poison pellets.

Upon first entering the room, investigators found a suicide note penned by Tylar Witt, then 14, who likened her and Colver’s situation to Romeo and Juliet.

In the note, Tylar lashes out at her mother and says the dead woman forced her to make a “devil’s deal.”

“I hate you, mother,” she writes. “I hope you never forget that.”

Tylar also asks that she and Colver be buried together.

“We loved each other,” she states. “Although I was young, I knew my love was true.”

In addition to the suicide note, detectives found another goodbye letter, again penned by Tylar, but this time addressed to her friends.

“Although my death has come, I wish it to stray from your path,” she wrote.

The trial’s second week is set to resume Wednesday morning.

Colver has pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder charge. He is facing 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

During opening statements, Colver’s attorney, Dain Weiner, said Tylar Witt acted alone in killing her mother, Joanne.

Tylar Witt, now 16, pleaded guilty to Joanne Witt’s first-degree murder last year. She is slated to testify against her former boyfriend. If she fulfills her end of the plea agreement, her murder conviction will be reduced to second-degree and she will face 15 years to life in prison.

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Jim Ratajczak


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