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

02/01/2010 at 05:30 PM EST

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

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.

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