Aurora man Keith Allen Zotto guilty of murdering his wife and putting her body in garbage can

An Aurora man who shot his wife in the face and then put her body into a garbage can has been found guilty of murder by an Arapahoe County jury.

Keith Allen Zotto, 46, was found guilty Tuesday of first-degree murder after deliberation in the death of Amber Zotto, who was 35 when she was killed in 2019, according to the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office.

The guilty verdict was returned after a five-day trial before Arapahoe County District Court Judge Joseph Whitfield.

On July 2, 2019, Amber Zotto’s mother contacted Aurora Police to say her daughter was missing, a DA’s news release said. Officer’s went to the couple’s home and their children told police they hadn’t seen her for two days. Police called Keith Zotto who claimed that they had gotten into an argument and when he awoke the next morning Amber was gone.

Officers searched the home and found the victim’s body covered in debris in a garbage can inside the garage along with a gun, the release said.

“He literally threw her away and left her to rot,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Laura Wilson told the court in her closing argument, the release said. “When you take a gun and point it at someone’s head … you know what happens when you pull that trigger. Amber begged for her life, she put up her hands, but he pulled the trigger.”

Wilson tried the case along with Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Jochum.

“Absolutely this was the right outcome in this case,” said District Attorney John Kellner. “This man had no regard for a human life, even when it was his wife and the mother of his children. He stayed in that house with those kids, knowing their mother was dead in the garage. And rather than take responsibility, he tried to pretend his wife committed suicide and he somehow panicked, hid the body and then forgot what he had done.”

At the time of his arrest, Keith Zotto had claimed that he and Amber had an argument and that she had fled the residence, leaving behind a suicide note, according to an arrest affidavit. Her pickup truck was still parked in the driveway at the time.

Keith Zotto also claimed, according to the affidavit, that it was “possible” that he hurt Amber, that he was drinking heavily at the time and he may have blacked out and did something he didn’t remember.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 19. The mandatory penalty for first-degree murder is life in prison without parole.

 

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