Love can make people do crazy things, including going so far as to kill anyone who gets between them and their one true love. The new Tubi original film, ‘Romeo and Juliet Killers,’ looks at a time love drove someone to murder in its name.
The movie was inspired by the “Ripped from the Headlines” true crime story of a rebellious teen, Tylar Witt, and her boyfriend, Steven Colver, who murdered her single mother in their upscale, gated community in Northern California and who were dubbed a modern-day Romeo and Juliet when they ran away and attempted suicide.
‘Romeo and Juliet Killers’ wastes little time establishing that Tylar was a child only a mother could love, a factor that comes back to haunt Joanne Witt.
After being introduced to Boston (real name Steven Colver), Tylar becomes immediately infatuated with him. This crush soon leads to Tylar bringing Boston home under the pretense that he is there to help her with her schooling.
Boston proves himself to be valuable and Joanne believes that he is already in a relationship with another teen who calls himself “god,” so it isn’t long before Joanne welcomes Boston to live with them. Unbeknownst to her, he is secretly sleeping with her 14-year-old daughter.
After a while, Joanne starts to become suspicious that Boston might not be who he claims to be, but she is too afraid to kick him out of her house for fear of losing her daughter altogether.
Convinced that she’s making the wrong decision, Joanne’s friend Val continues to investigate Boston and soon discovers the pair’s secret. After Val reveals the truth to her, Joanne kicks Boston out of her house and files statutory rape charges against him.
Believing that Boston will be sent away for up to twenty years for his crimes and convinced that they will never be able to be together as long as Tylar’s mother is in the picture, the young lovers devise a plan and prove that they will do whatever it takes to stay together, even if that means having to kill Joanne.
On the run and feeling like the walls are closing in on them, the star-crossed lovers decide that if they can’t be together in life, then they will be together in death.
‘Romeo and Juliet Killers’ tells the real-life story of the tumultuous relationship between Tylar Witt and Steven Colver.
While ‘Romeo and Juliet Killers’ takes some liberties with the real-life case, it doesn’t stray too far off the course.
The two met when Tylar was only fourteen-years-old and Steven was nineteen.
Not long after meeting, Colver would come to rent a room in the Witt home. Tylar told her mother that he was gay to make her feel comfortable having him live there.
Suspecting that Colver and her daughter were engaging in illicit sexual behavior, Joanne would eventually catch them in the act when she found her daughter hiding naked in the closet.
Joanne then threw Steven out of the house and warned him that he would be charged with statutory rape if he continued to see her daughter. He ignored Joanne’s instructions and repeatedly snuck back into the house following this incident.
This prompted Joanne to turn over to police a diary she found in which Tylar had detailed all of the explicit acts she and Steven had engaged in. This piece of evidence would be enough to convict Steven of statutory rape charges.
Angry with her mother, Tylar attacked her and then called the authorities on herself, believing it would result in her being taken by Child Protective Services and away from Joanne and her influence over her.
Joanne refused to press charges and, within hours, Tylar was back at home.
Convinced that there was no way they could be together as long as Tylar’s mother was around, and also worried that Steven was going to be sent to prison for twenty years for his crimes, the two formulated a plan to kill Joanne before she could turn over the diary and testify against Steven.
The exact specifics of the night Joanne was killed are heavily debated. In her testimony, Tylar claimed that Steven was the one to kill her mother. She stated that, on the night of the murder, he entered her mother’s bedroom while she stayed outside the room and “put my hands on my ear, closed my eyes and hummed.”
Steven, on the other hand, claimed that he wasn’t even in the house at the time of the murder and that he was never aware Tylar had devised a plan to kill her mother. He claimed that he arrived at the house after the murder had taken place and only discovered that Tylar had killed her mother when she answered the door clutching the bloody murder weapon. He claimed that the knife had dripped blood all around the house and he was quoted as saying, “there was blood everywhere.” This claim would not be supported by any physical evidence, as investigators didn’t find any blood in the home other than in the bedroom Joanne was killed in.
Steven’s story would also be contradicted by the fact that, shortly after the murder, he confided to two of his friends that he had killed Joanne. He even allegedly showed his friends the still bloody knife he had used to kill her.
What the pair didn’t know was that Joanne had already given the diary to the police and that, at most, Steven would have been sentenced to a year in prison.
Following the murder of Joanne, the two then fled to San Francisco where they attempted to commit suicide by eating a combination of “Froot Loops, cake, and rat poison.” Unlike Romeo and Juliet, the pair survived and were eventually caught.
The jury believed Tylar’s version of that night and ended up convicting her of second-degree murder and sentencing her to fifteen years to life in prison.
Steven was convicted of first-degree murder and received a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Watch ‘Romeo and Juliet Killers’ on Tubi to find out the horrific love story of two troubled individuals and how they would do anything for love – even murder – to get their demented fairy tale ending.