PLACERVILLE, CA - After several delays spanning almost a week, 16-year-old Tylar Witt took the witness stand Wednesday to testify against Steven Colver, her former boyfriend. Both were charged with the 2009 murder of Witt's mother.
Investigators said 47-year-old Joanne Witt was stabbed 20 times at her El Dorado County home in June of 2009. Colver, who was then 19-years-old, had been living on the property, and was romantically involved with the then 14-year-old Witt.
When her mother was found dead, Witt and Colver were arrested in the Bay Area, and charged with murder. Witt pleaded guilty to second degree murder, and will testify against her ex-boyfriend.
On the witness stand, Witt described her relationship with Colver, how it developed and what lead up to the death of her mother.
In a chilling testimony, Witt described the night of Joanne's death:
"I called Boston and told him [Joanne's] finally asleep and he can come over now.
I was up in my room, sitting on my windowsill, and I saw him walk onto the driveway and come in through the back gate. He walked in so he wouldn't have to use gate code so police knew he didn't come in through the gate. I told him not to go in through the gate and park at the school. We waited outside and smoked a couple cigarettes.
I felt really edgy and talked about going to San Francisco -- just talking. He had a knife, he showed it to me when we were standing outside.
He said he got it from his work and put it an inside pocket in his coat. It was wrapped in a rubio's plastic bag.
I finally got up enough nerve to go back inside, open the door and let him inside. I heard a creak, I thought it was my mom, I told him to wait in the bathroom. She was still sound asleep so I went to get him and let him upstairs.
I had another knife from the kitchen set.
He goes in, I'm sitting with my back to one of the doors, waiting, I saw him go in and I turned my back to it.
I didn't hear anything, so I peeked around the door, he was posing, sort of like practicing. He was holding it, practicing. He was about a foot and a half away from the bed.
I was waiting for it to start, the noise to start. My mom woke up. With the knife in my hand I turned to go into the room, I stood up, I was in the doorway, I couldn't do it, I couldn't go inside.
I put my hands over my ears, closed my eyes and hummed. I heard her telling him to stop.
He came out of the room, he was holding the knife and he was just standing there facing the stairs.
I got up, I hugged him and told him everything was going to be okay. I went into my room, got my bag that had clothing and I told him not to touch anything, and before I went back downstairs, I told him to wait so I could close the windows, the blinds and turn on the air conditioning.
He got a blanket and held it up so I couldn't see my mother. [He had] blood on his pantleg, a teardrop by his left eye. He just held on to the knife."
Eaerlier in her testimony, Witt said "I don't remember saying I wanted to stab her, I remember saying I wanted her to die," saying that's what she told police when she was taken to juvenile hall after getting into a physical fight with her mother, Joanne.
Witt said her relationship with Joanne became tense after her mother allowed Colver to move in with them and then surprisingly discovered he was having sex with Witt. Joanne then kicked Colver out of the house.
The fight between Joanne and Witt came after Joanne turned in Witt's diary and a towel on Colver's bed to authorities, revealing the illegal-aged relationship.
Witt admitted she and Colver agreed to kill Joanne so they would have time to commit suicide together on their 4-month anniversary, in fear Colver would be arrested.
"We didn't really talk about the details of how she was going to die," Witt testified. "He has a few pocket knives and he works at a restaurant. He was going to come over on Friday night and it happened."
"I suggested that we move it up to that night, the plans to kill her," Witt testified. "I suggested that we put something in her drink, vicodin, because it seemed like a good idea at the time, so it would be certain that she wouldn't wake up, it makes you sleepy."
Witt said Colver agreed to her idea and said it was better they kill Joanne when she was drunk. Witt said she waited in her room until 11 or 11:30 p.m. that night and heard her mother get up to put the dogs out. She said she called Colver to let him know they'll have to wait about another hour.
Earlier in her testimony, Witt said before meeting Colver, she had never done drugs, but she would frequently use marijuana, cocaine, and ecstasy when she began spending time with him. She said they met in a coffee shop in December 2008 and by February 2009, Colver admitted he loved her.
"Three days later he told me that he loved me and I realized that I felt the same way about him," Witt said. "It just became a thing, I called him when I needed somebody to talk to."
A month later, they began having sex and Witt's feelings for Colver grew stronger. "If he told me to jump off a bridge I would have done it," she testified.
Witt said it was Colver who convinced her to introduce him to her mother Joanne. Witt said he was good with dealing with parents. Everything was fine between her and her mother, until Joanne suggested Colver move in with them, as he was looking for a place to stay. Colver had convinced Joanne that he and Witt had a brother/sister relationship, not a sexual one. She eventually liked him and began calling him "Boston" as she grew more comfortable around him.
After moving into Witt's home, Colver and Witt continued to hide their sexual relationship from Joanne, until she caught Witt naked inside of Colver's room.
"I was very, very mad at my mom. I didn't want to go to jail and I really felt like I could not go through life without him so I was really in a jam," Witt testified.
She felt guilty because she put Colver in a bad position and she thought he would face a minimum of five years for statuatory rape. She also thought she might lose him now.
The prosecution, led by Deputy District Attorney Lisette Suder, has argued that Colver physically stabbed Joanne Witt. Colver's defense is based on the assertion that it was Tylar who stabbed her mother, and Colver was there at some point, but did not physically commit the murder.
News10 has reporters in the courtroom Wednesday as Witt's planned testimony unfolds.