Tyler Witt and Steven Colver
PLACERVILLE, CA - The teenage couple accused of killing the girl's mother in her El Dorado Hills home last June will stand trial for murder following a ruling Thursday by an El Dorado County judge.
Judge Douglas Phimister found Tylar Witt, 15, and her boyfriend Steven Colver, 20, conspired to kill Witt's mother Joanne after Joanne Witt threatened to press statuatory rape charges against Colver.
Phimister also found a special circumstance could come into play for Colver because he may have been "lying in wait" to kill Witt on either June 11 or 12. That enhancement could make Colver eligible to face the death penalty.
The next court date was set for Jan. 22.
The finding came after more forensic and expert testimony during a preliminary hearing in the Placerville courtroom Thursday.
Toxicologist Dr. Doctor Elizabeth Alvers testified a blood test showed only therapeutic levels of prescription drugs in Joanne Witt's system, while defense attorneys argued it was proof that Tylar Witt did not first drug her mother as previous experts had testified.
Earlier in the hearing, defense attorney Mark Ralphs moved to postpone Thursday's testimony, arguing he had just learned of the toxicology findings from El Dorado County prosecutors on Wednesday. The judge denied the motion.
An El Dorado County Sheriff's Office deputy who investigated the statutory rape claim, read excerpts from Tylar Witt's diary describing sexual encounters with Colver. Deputy Kenneth Barber also read an entry, investigators believe to be in reference to Joanne Witt, that read, "I just wish she would die somehow, someway."
Another sheriff's investigator, Det. Rich Fitzgerald, testified about a MySpace.com posting from Witt to a friend after the murder. In the post Witt wrote, "I'm weeping but I'm free," Fitzgerald testified. Fitzgerald said the friend also reported Witt asking him about arsenic before the murder occured.
The friend also told sheriff's investigators, Fitzgerald testified, that Witt and Colver did cocaine at Colver's father's house after the killing and told him that if they couldn't live together freely they would die together.
The prosecution entered into evidence a story believed written by Witt and Colver that was sent from San Francisco after the murder to another friend. The story was titled "The Killer and the Raven" and was an account of a murder with characters resembling Witt and Colver as the perpetrators, Fitzgerald testified.