The Mental Health Minute

Articles and news about mental health issues

Tylar Witt, 15, Pleads Insanity in Mom’s Murder

Here’s an interesting article that I know I will keep watching closely.  Another attempt to blur the lines between mental illness and criminality.  I believe that all people are responsible for their actions, and if this young lady has any responsibility for the death of her mother, then she should suffer the consequences of her actions.   Whether she is “insane” should not be an issue except in the type of consequence attached.  I think criminally insane persons need to get help and need to serve the time allotted for their action.  Being ill does not excuse you from responsibility.  That would be like saying, “I killed my mother because I’m diabetic.”  That doesn’t track with me at all.

What do you think about this?  Do you think there is a problem with this defense or not?  I’d love to hear your views on this topic. _________________________________________________________________________________________

By Howard Breuer

Monday February 01, 2010 05:30 PM EST


The 15-year-old girl charged with teaming with her boyfriend to murder her mom threw out a surprise in court Monday: a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Tylar Witt, 15, Pleads Insanity in Mom's Murder

Tylar Witt

During the brief hearing in a Northern California courtroom, Tylar Witt furrowed her brow and entered the insanity plea. Her boyfriend, Steven Colver, 20, pleaded not guilty to the murder last June of 47-year-old Joanne Witt.

Witt’s defense attorney declined to explain the plea to the media. Colver’s defense attorney, Dain Weiner, says he’s not sure what’s going on. “I don’t know what facts they will be basing that defense on, or how those facts will mesh with our defense,” Weiner says.

The couple are accused of plotting to murder Joanne Witt in her El Dorado Hills home after she showed sheriff’s deputies her then-14-year-old daughter’s diary and accused Colver of statutory rape.

Prosecutors say Tylar drugged her mother and then Colver stabbed her 20 times and slashed her throat with a butcher knife. A judge recently ruled that Tylar’s apparent role in the horrific crime warrants her being tried as an adult.

Both defendants also pleaded not guilty to special circumstances of lying in wait and of killing a witness – enhancements that could mean life in prison if they are convicted. More could come out about the insanity plea when the court holds a hearing March 26 on numerous pretrial motions.

Here’s the link to the original article

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February 2, 2010 - Posted by | Mental Health | , , , , ,


  1. Yes I agree that people have to paid and take responsibility for their crimes. One the our hand, what about society? Where is our part in all this? Did the school systems fail this child by not identifying the abuse and troubled preteen.

    Mental illness is in the closet and very often the last recourse looked at? I think it is hard to access severity of guilt when one doesn’t know how many unanswered desperate pleas for help where issued. I question where is the prevention in mental illness. With all other deceases or illness there are top preventative measure. Do we just don’t care about mental health until they murder?

    Just one other question, when a teen commits suicide does one feel it is the same crime, as murder? They just did the same act of taking a life?
    The major responsibility I don’t see society making is advocating and educating the public, media, and government, on mental health issues and needs. I hope that this case will move people to actively advocate for mental health as it is the only way to make a difference.

    Comment by Carrie-Ann Dambrowitz | February 4, 2010 | Reply

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shirley Williams, Shirley Williams. Shirley Williams said: Tylar Witt, 15, Pleads Insanity in Mom's Murder: […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention Tylar Witt, 15, Pleads Insanity in Mom’s Murder « The Mental Health Minute -- | February 7, 2010 | Reply

  3. I predict a made-for-tv movie about Tylar Witt within the next five years.

    Comment by theweeklyargus | September 22, 2010 | Reply

  4. … [Trackback]…

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    Trackback by Homepage | December 24, 2011 | Reply

  5. We appreciate you for posting articles like these to keep up understanding.
    Be sure to look over my blog and follow it, too!

    Comment by San Antonio Criminal Lawyer | October 7, 2014 | Reply

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