An attorney for a man charged with fatally stabbing the mother of his teenage girlfriend said Tuesday his client falsely admitted the killing to protect the girl who was 14 at the time.
Dain Weiner, a lawyer for defendant Steven Colver, told jurors during opening statements at trial that it was Tylar Witt who killed her mother in their El Dorado Hills home in June 2009, the Sacramento Bee reported.
Colver, 19, was so in love with Witt that he told friends he did it and showed them the bloody knife, Weiner said.
"The evidence will show that she had a deep-rooted animosity for her mother that pre-dated Steven Colver," Weiner said of the girl.
Weiner described Witt as a pathological liar and claimed she had previously gotten into fights at school and had threatened her mother with a knife several weeks before the killing.
Prosecutors contend that Colver and Witt went to the bedroom of victim Joanne Witt together and Colver stabbed the 47-year-old woman 20 times in the chest and neck.
The couple was upset because the mother had accused Colver of statutory rape and had discovered he sold drugs, prosecutor Lizette Suder said in her opening statement. She read from a text message that she said Colver sent a friend after Joanne Witt forbid him from seeing her daughter.
In it, he complained that "Joanne is continually trying to destroy my life," Suder said.
"This is a case about a 19-year-old man and a 14-year-old girl with a forbidden love affair ... to the point of sadistic murder," Suder told the jury.
The two sides did agree on one point: Several days after the killing, Colver and Witt attempted to commit suicide by ingesting rat poison.
Tylar Witt previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in a deal that could get her out of prison by age 29. She is expected to testify against Colver.
Prosecutors had intended to try her as an adult.
Information from: The Sacramento Bee, http://www.sacbee.com