Colton Aaron Pitonyak: Where is Jennifer Cave’s Killer Now?

When a college student named Jennifer Cave was found dead by her family in Colton Aaron Pitonyak’s apartment in Austin, Texas, in 2005, the entire community was left shell-shocked. The involvement of police led the pursuit of the killer to Mexico, where Colton had been in hiding with another suspect, Laura Hall. The episode titled ‘In Too Deep’ of CBS’ ’48 Hours’ chronicles the entire case, including the investigation that ensued. As the episode dives into the details of the case, it also builds up one’s curiosity to learn more about the perpetrator.

Colton Aaron Pitonyak is a Scholar-Turned-Killer

Born in 1982 in Bryant, Arkansas, Colton Aaron Pitonyak grew up in an upper-middle-class and loving family. His father used to own a farm machinery company. As he grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, Colton went to Christ the King School and Catholic High School for Boys, where he became one of the seven senior finalists and one of 166 senior finalists in the state. Being academically gifted, he was also a National Merit Scholar. Thanks to his high grades, he earned a scholarship and got the opportunity to major in finance at the University of Texas in Austin. During his university days, Colton was charged with DWI and POCS as the police found drugs of different kinds at his apartment. He even entered a rehabilitation program for his drug abuse problem.

Although his family knew about his drug and alcohol problems, they were not aware of the fact that he was also allegedly dealing drugs. In the spring of 2005, he came across Laura Hall, who hoped to become a lawyer. As sparks flew between the two, they began dating. He also had a friend named Jennifer Cave, who was also his client. So, on the night of August 16, 2005, Colton got in touch with her and took her out to Sixth Street in Downtown Austin to celebrate her new job. As they got drunk late into the night, the two headed back to Colton’s apartment at the Orange Tree Condominiums at 2529 Rio Grande Street in West Campus in Austin, Texas, where he shot her to death sometime between 1 and 3:30 am. Reports suggested that the bullet traveled through her arm and into her chest, through the heart, killing her almost instantaneously.

A few hours later, Laura Hall came over and learned about what Colton had done to Jennifer. On the morning of August 17, 2005, the law firm where Jennifer was newly employed reached out to her family and told them that she had not arrived at work. When her mother, Sharon, and stepfather, Jim Sedwick, found out that she was out with Colton, they contacted him, but he gave them cold responses and told them not to bother him. The next day, Sharon and Jim traveled all the way to Colton’s apartment in Austin, where they found Jennifer’s car parked. When the police did not help them search the apartment without a search warrant, Jim broke into the house and discovered her body in the bathtub, but there was no sign of Colton anywhere.

As the police inspected the scene of the crime, they found out that Jennifer’s body had plenty of stab wounds, and her head and hands had been dismembered. A machete was also discovered in the dishwasher. As it turned out, Colton and Laura had fled the country on the latter’s green Cadillac and reached the Mexico town of Piedras Negras on August 18, 2005. After staying in a Holiday Inn in Piedras Negras for five days, constantly looking over their shoulders, the duo was discovered by a Mexican SWAT team and handed over to American authorities on August 23, 2005. At the border, Colton was arrested and charged with the murder of Jennifer Cave, while Laura was allowed to leave.

Colton Aaron Pitonyak is Incarcerated in a Texas Jail

More than a year later, in January 2007, Colton Aaron Pitonyak’s trial for the killing of Jennifer Cave commenced. In his defense, he claimed that he did not remember anything that happened that night as he was high on drugs and alcohol. He couldn’t explain how the shooting happened either. However, his defense suggested that Laura Hall was involved in the murder of Jennifer, with jealousy being the motive for her. On the other hand, the prosecution presented incriminating evidence that pointed toward Colton as the murderer. After considering arguments from both sides, the jury returned with a guilty verdict for Colton on January 29, 2007.

On the same day, he received a 55-year imprisonment sentence for his crimes while being eligible for parole after he completed 50% of his total sentence. In 2016, Colton’s lawyers appealed to the court for a retrial after Laura Hall admitted to murdering Jennifer in a jailhouse confession. When that was denied, they filed another appeal in December 2017, claiming that two witnesses could challenge the prosecution’s timeline of Jennifer’s death. However, his appeal was again dismissed. Currently, Colton Aaron Pitonyak is serving his sentence behind bars in the Memorial Unit at 59 Darrington Road #59 in Rosharon, Texas, awaiting his parole.

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