Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Forbidden Love: Steven Colver and Tylar Witt

Tylar Testifies


Tylar Witt
Tylar Witt
When the prosecution called Tylar Witt to the stand there wasn't an empty seat in the gallery. Now 16, Tylar seemed younger and more wholesome than expected. Shackled and serene, she absent-mindedly played with her long brown hair as she politely answered questions from the prosecutor. Tylar outlined the plan to kill her mother (so that she couldn't call police when the couple fled to San Francisco), how she tried to drug Joanne's drink with vitamins (there was no valium left in her mother's cabinet), and how Steven arrived at the house with a 10-inch chef's knife taken from Rubio's. She said they ascended the stairs to Joanne's bedroom together, but when she saw Colver taking a few practice chops at the air, she buckled: "I couldn't do it. I couldn't go inside." As she slumped in the hallway, she "put my hands on my ears, closed my eyes and hummed" to drown out the sounds of the murder in the next room.

The defense began its cross examination by having Tylar recount years of physical altercations with her mother and her various attempts at running away. But it was a simple question, "Who is Toby?" that threatened to break the case. Tylar explained that Toby was a demon from hell that lived inside her. And that Alex, an angel, lived in her as well: "Three souls crowded in one body," Tylar stated matter-of-factly. In times of stress, Tylar recounted, she would black out and Toby would take over to "deal with whatever was stressing me out." Was Toby to blame for the murder of Joanne Witt?