Amber Lynn Zotto was found dead after being reported missing by her mother

By Harriet Sokmensuer
May 13, 2021 03:16 PM
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Amber Lynn Zotto Karnik
Credit: Facebook

A Colorado man who fatally shot his wife and dumped her body in a trash can in their garage has been convicted of murder.

On Tuesday, a jury found Keith Zotto guilty of murder in the first-degree in connection with the 2019 death of his wife, Amber Lynn Zotto, the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office announced in a press release.

"This man had no regard for a human life, even when it was his wife and the mother of his children," John Kellner, 18th Judicial District Attorney, 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."

On July 2, 2019, Amber's mother contacted Aurora police to report her daughter missing. Police went to the Zotto home, where Amber's two children told officers they had not seen their mother for two days, according to the press release.

Keith told police he and his wife got into an argument, and when he woke up the next morning, she was gone.

However, during a search of the Zotto home, officers found Amber's body stuffed in a garbage can in the garage and covered in debris. A gun was also found in the can.

"He literally threw her away and left her to rot," said Chief Deputy District Attorney Laura Wilson during closing arguments at Keith's trial. "Amber begged for her life, she put up her hands, but he pulled the trigger."

Keith Allen Zotto
Credit: Arapahoe County Sheriff

The jury's verdict came after a five-day trial. According to her obituary, Amber loved her family, friends and sports teams.

"Amber did enjoy spending time with family and friends. She was a sports fan, loved the Nuggets, Duke Basketball but most of all her Broncos," her obituary stated. "Many a Sunday you would find her head to toe in her Bronco gear.

The mandatory penalty for first-degree murder is life in prison without possibility of parole. Keith's sentencing is set for July 19.