Forbidden young love ends with a mother's violent murder

Was teenager Tylar Witt involved in stabbing her own mother to death ... and was it all over a boy?

"Steven's ... not violent, he's not aggressive," said Dain Weiner, who is defending Steven Colver. "Tylar wrote in her diary about how she wished her mother would die in a horrible car crash."

Weiner, who's defending Tylar Witt's boyfriend, says while Steven had a clean record, there is plenty of evidence that shows Tylar was violent and more than capable of stabbing her mother.

"Every friend she had virtually she told that she hated her mother," Weiner said. "She said...'If my mother doesn't let me see Steven, I swear to god I will kill her!"

For Tylar's grandparents, it's almost impossible to believe. Tylar was a beautiful baby when she was born.

"As soon as she was born, they let me in with the cameras and I've got, you know, pictures ..." Norb recalled fondly.

Tylar was Norb and Judi Witt's third grandchild.

"When you look at those pictures [of Tylar as a child], given all that's gone on, what happens in your heart?" Schlesinger asked.

"She was a wonderful mother," Norb said of his daughter Joanne. "... just the affection, the care -- her whole life centered around her daughter. No father involved at all ... he was never in the scene. Joanne took Tylar everywhere."

Everything changed, though, when Tylar was just 5 years old. According to Joanne's best friend, Roxanna Jurgeit, Joanne lost control just for a moment when she was taking Tylar home from daycare.

"... they were on their way home and they were driving ... Tylar was screaming ... and Jo was having trouble concentrating on driving and being a safe driver. And she turned around and hit Tylar," Jurgeit explained.

Later, when daycare workers noticed a red mark in the shape of Joanne's hand on Tylar's face, they reported it to the state Child Protective Services (CPS) and Tylar was taken away from Joanne. She went to foster care for about a month until Norb and Judi could get temporary custody.

"... she lived with us for about six months where Joanne had to take classes," Judi said. "Anger management. And parenting ..."

When Joanne got Tylar back, things were very different in her house.

"Now after that, Joanne was afraid to even to discipline her that strongly because she was afraid that Tylar would report her to CPS," said Judi.

"So that cloud was always there ... 'Mommy, I want to go out tonight with the boys or something like that and uh, I'm going,'" added Norb.

"And that was always the threat," Schlesinger commented.

"Yes."

"Tylar got into this behavior that she could do whatever she wanted. And there's no consequence," said Jurgeit, who watched as Tylar started getting into trouble at school. She ran away from home several times.

"She was sweet when she was growing up ... she was sweet," Jurgeit continued. "But I don't know her now and I don't want to know her now."

Jurgeit says Joanne finally started trying to discipline Tylar more in the months before she was killed. And that led to fights -- violent ones.

"Things were starting to get physical between them," said Jurgeit.

The authorities, including CPS, got involved several times. Tylar told them her mother frequently got drunk and beat her. But Tylar was never taken from the house.

"There was no abuse. She wasn't an alcoholic ... she didn't get violent," said Jurgeit.

And the authorities seem to agree. Prosecutor Lisette Suder says there is no evidence to support Tylar's accusations.

"If Tylar were truly beaten to the extent that is sort of assumed from the way Tylar speaks, there were never marks ... there were never bruises ... there were people around a lot and it never happened when any of those people are around. So was it something that happened just behind closed doors? I don't know," Suder told Schlesinger.

But less than a month before the murder, Joanne and her daughter had a fight focusing this time on Tylar's sexual relationship with Steven Colver.

Asked if Tylar ever actually attacked her mother, Weiner said, "She did ... she threw some things at her mom ... it was the day that she learned that her mother had reported the relationship to the police."

"Actually," Suder explained, "Tylar called the police pretending to be her mother saying, 'My daughter's out of control ... come get my daughter.'"

It has to be one of the more bizarre 911 calls ever made:

911 operator: 911.

Tylar Witt: Umm. Excuse me ... my daughter Tylar Witt had physically assaulted me and she's vandalizing my home.

That's Tylar impersonating her mother. She's trying to get herself taken away by the sheriff:

911 operator: Do you feel safe being on the phone with me?

Tylar Witt: No, I do not.

Tylar Witt: She would not go back into her room and I tried to push her back into her room and we started to get into a fight and I am bleeding.

It is chilling evidence of a deeply troubled mother-daughter relationship. Joanne finally comes to the phone and she really is injured. The angry voice in the background is Tylar:

Joanne Witt: Hello

911 operator: Yes.

Joanne Witt: That was my daughter.

Tylar Witt: Go ahead finish the report and send me to jail.

911 operator: Is your name Joanne?

Tylar Witt: Why won't you let me leave?

911 operator: Are you safe?

Joanne Witt: I don't know (crying).

911 operator: OK. Are you injured at all?

Joanne Witt: Yeah ... a little bit.

911 operator: OK -- we'll have deputies on their way ...

Joanne Witt: Thank you.

"Why would Tylar try to arrange her own arrest?" Schlesinger asked Suder.

"I have asked Tylar that question and she said she wanted to be anywhere but home. She would rather have been in juvenile hall than at home that day," the prosecutor replied.

"Mom ended up with -- I believe -- a cut on her chin, some bruises on her arm ..." said Weiner.

Joanne didn't need to go to a hospital, but Tylar was taken to juvenile hall. When Joanne refused to press charges, Tylar was released within hours and sent back home.

With Tylar's history of fighting with her mother, Dain Weiner questions why Steven is the one prosecutors say stabbed Joanne.

"He has never hurt anybody, or tried to hurt anybody or threatened to hurt anybody," Weiner said. "... as contrasted with Tylar -- who has a very specific history with her mother -- and has literally threatened to kill her, to stab her....the very method by which she was ultimately killed!"

Joanne's parents -- Tylar's grandparents - weren't sure what to believe. Who did what to whom? But Norb was convinced that Tylar was involved in Joanne's murder somehow.

"She's not my granddaughter, anymore," said Norb.

"... your husband's written her off ... pretty much. Have you?" Schlesinger asked Judi.

"It's a little harder for a grandmother," Schlesinger commented to Judi.

"Yeah, I think she'll always be in my heart," she said. "But it's not the Tylar that we know today. It was the Tylar that I knew before."

"I mean you're writing off a girl, now a young lady, who you've known since she was born," Schlesinger commented.

"Yup. But she's gone!" Norb said. With a sigh he added, "I've accepted it."