Feature Photos

Colver trial: Prosecution gives closing argument

By June 14, 2011

Steven Colver walks toward the Main Street courthouse elevator Tuesday during a break in his murder trial.

Steven Colver walks toward the Main Street courthouse elevator Tuesday during a break in his murder trial.

As gruesome crime scene photos of Joanne Witt’s lifeless body were displayed for jurors, El Dorado County deputy district attorney Lisette Suder called the slain 47-year-old single mother the most important witness in the murder case against Steven “Boston” Colver.

“Joanne is the silent witness to the truth because it’s through her death that (she) has told us what happened,” Suder said.

The prosecution delivered its closing statement Tuesday morning, days after the two-year anniversary of Joanne Witt’s murder.

Colver, 21, is accused of stabbing the El Dorado Hills woman 20 times while she slept in the home that she shared with her daughter, Tylar, 16.

Tylar Witt pleaded guilty last year to her mother’s murder as part of a deal with prosecutors.

In Suder’s emotional closing, the attorney told jurors that Joanne Witt had given them all the evidence they need to convict Colver, including male DNA in her fingernail scrapings and the seven defensive wounds she suffered.

Defense attorney Dain Weiner previously told jurors that Tylar Witt killed her mother before Colver, her former lover, ever arrived at the Witt house on the evening of June 11, 2009.

But the evidence, according to Suder, points to the teenage girl acting as an accessory to murder — but not to being the actual killer.

“A guy did this,” said Suder. “A 14-year-old girl did not do this to her mother.”

Colver was responbile for the “violent, calculated, desperate slaying of Joanne Witt” because he feared authorities would arrest him for having sexual relations with an underage Tylar Witt, Suder said.

“That is the only way to keep him from going to jail, to keep him free,” she told jurors.

Colver, according to Suder, was driven to kill Joanne Witt by his love of both his personal freedom and of Tylar.

Suder said Colver saw himself as Tylar’s “savior” and that he was proud that he “freed his love of the evil mother.”

Tylar, as part of her agreement with prosecutors, testified earlier in the trial against Colver. According to the girl, Colver stabbed her mother to death while she hid, lying in a fetal position, outside of the bedroom where her mother fought for her life.

But the girl also admitted to lying numerous times to investigators and during previous testimony, allowing Colver’s attorney to attack her credibility.

On Tuesday Suder attempted to repair some of Tylar Witt’s believability.

Although the teen appeared “coldhearted” during testimony, Suder said Tylar Witt was simply being honest about the death of her mother.

In fact, Suder told jurors that Tylar’s credibility remained intact because she had already admitted to her mother’s slaying and was not attempting to pin the crime on her former boyfriend.

“She’s not pointing the finger to try and get herself off,” the attorney said.

At the conclusion of her presentation, Suder reminded jurors what Joanne Witt’s last words were alleged to have been: “Joanne’s last words were ‘No, Boston, no!’ She’s telling us who did this to her.

“Find him guilty for what he did.”

Colver’s attorney, Dain Weiner, was scheduled to give his closing statement after the noon recess.


Jim Ratajczak


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