One of Austin’s most notorious murder trials could happen all over again.
More than six years after Colton Pitonyak was sentenced to 55 years for the murder and mutilation of Jennifer Cave, his case has been granted a rare review by the 5th U.S. Circuit of Appeals.
A three-judge panel will hear oral arguments Tuesday morning to determine if the district attorney’s office withheld a documented confession given by Pitonyak’s accomplice, Laura Hall.
Pitonyak’s defense team says Hall confessed to killing Cave to a jail counselor—a document which was never handed over to the defense during Pitonyak's 2007 trial.
Cave’s dismembered body was found in Pitonyak's West Campus condominium in August 2005. After her death, he fled to Mexico with Hall, where they were both later arrested. Hall was sentenced to 10 years for tampering with evidence and hindering apprehension.
The panel could reach their decision within one month. Their ruling marks a final stamp on the appeals process, and could be Pitonyak's last chance for a new trial.