AURORA | An Arapahoe County jury this week determined that a 46-year-old Aurora plumber murdered his wife when he shot her in the face and dumped her body into a garbage can in his garage two years ago.
Following a five-day trial, jurors on May 11 convicted Keith Zotto of first-degree murder after deliberation in connection with the 2019 shooting death of his wife, 35-year-old Amber Zotto, according to the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
Aurora police initially began investigating the Zottos after Amber’s mother reported her daughter missing on July 2, 2019, court records show. In initial interviews with police, Keith said he and his wife had gotten into an argument several days prior, she left after the dispute and he had not seen her since. Investigators later found a note, allegedly written by Amber, “alluding to suicide,” according to court documents.
The couple’s two children later told authorities that they had not seen their mother since June 29, 2019.
Upon searching the couple’s home on East Milan Circle in Aurora, police found Amber’s body upside down in a trash can in the garage. There was blood spattered on the lid and walls of the receptacle, and refuse had been scattered on top of Amber’s cadaver, according to an arrest affidavit filed against Keith.
Investigators also found a loaded revolver atop a piece of carpet that was partially covering Amber’s body.
“He literally threw her away and left her to rot,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Laura Wilson told jurors in her closing argument.
Keith eventually told police that he and his wife had a lengthy history of heavy drinking and arguing, though he “did not believe he had been physical with Amber” the previous weekend, according to the arrest document.
He eventually said “it was possible he hurt Amber … he has been drinking heavily to the point of blacking out lately and may have done something and not remember it,” records show.
A family member of Keith’s, whose name was redacted in court records, later told police “that Keith told her that Amber had put her hands up and stated ‘don’t shoot, don’t shoot’ at which point Keith Zotto shot her in the face,” according to the affidavit.
“Amber begged for her life, she put up her hands, but he pulled the trigger,” Wilson said.
Aurora SWAT officers arrested Keith without incident at a family member’s house the evening of July 2. He has been detained without bond ever since.
“This man had no regard for a human life, even when it was his wife and the mother of his children,” District Attorney John Kellner said in a statement. “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.”
Per state statute, Keith Zotto is required to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He remains incarcerated at the Arapahoe County jail while he awaits the formal imposition of his sentenced on July 19.