Colton Pitonyak is serving a 55-year prison sentence for murder in the death of Jennifer Cave, whose body was found mutilated in his West Campus apartment in the late summer of 2005.
In his trial, one of the most infamous to unfold in a Travis County courtroom, prosecutors portrayed him as a callous drug dealer and wannabe gangster who carried a gun and sometimes turned violent. But since his 2007 conviction, his lawyers have described him as a troubled 22-year-old lush manipulated by Laura Hall, whom they say was his jealous accomplice and the actual killer.
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Colton Pitonyak timeline
Aug. 17, 2005 — Jennifer Cave is killed sometime between 1 and 3 a.m. in the West Campus apartment of Colton Pitonyak. Her body is mutilated.
Jan. 29, 2007 — Pitonyak is sentenced to 55 years in prison after a jury finds him guilty of first-degree murder.
March 27, 2008 — The 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin affirms Pitonyak’s conviction and sentence.
Oct. 8, 2008 — The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denies Pitonyak’s petition for discretionary review.
Jan. 13, 2010 — The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denies Pitonyak’s application for a writ of habeas corpus.
Feb. 2, 2010 — Pitonyak files a federal application for a writ of habeas corpus under the U.S. Western District of Texas.
July 10, 2012 — The Texas federal court denies Pitonyak relief.
Aug. 3, 2012 — Pitonyak files a motion for a certificate of appealability to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
March 12, 2013 — The 5th Circuit grants the motion..