By Peter Hecht
Steven Paul Colver was found guilty this afternoon of first-degree murder for brutally stabbing El Dorado Hills mother Joanne M. Witt to death in the bedroom of her gated home.
It took an El Dorado County jury less than a day of deliberations to reject the defense claim that Witt that was killed by her then-14-year-old daughter, Tylar Marie Witt.
The girl, now 16, pleaded guilty to second degree murder after telling prosecutors she led Colver to the house shortly before Joanne Witt's killing June 12, 2009.
The jury accepted the prosecution's argument that Colver, now 21, fatally stabbed the mother after lying in wait. It also approved a second special circumstance of killing a witness because Joanne had reported Colver for statutory rape. The special circumstances mean he is not eligible for parole and he was ordered to appear for sentencing Aug. 12.
At trial, Tylar Witt, testified that Colver stabbed her mother to death as she slept after Tylar had called him to their home. She also said she has multiple personalities and had blacked out at the time of the attack.
"I have relief for the family and the friends that they no longer have to deal with this," said prosecutor Lisette Suder, who noted Joanne Witt's body was discovered two years ago today. "It's still in their hearts and in their minds but they can move on."
Colver had bowed his head as the verdict was read. His attorney, Dain Weiner, said he had prepared his client for bad news when the jury returned so quickly. "He knew this was a possibility. He had a moment to somewhat emotionally and physically prepare but clearly he was very emotional," Weiner said.
Colver's mother, Jan Colver, emerged from the historic courtroom in downtown Placerville holding hands with a close friend and crying. After descending the courthouse steps, she was greeted by Norbert Witt, father of the victim, and the pair fell into a hug and cried in each other's arms.
Photo Gallery: Steven Colver on trial for murder of girlfriend's mother