AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – A jury on Tuesday found Keith Allen Zotto guilty of first-degree murder in the 2019 death of his wife, Amber Zotto. Investigators say Keith, 46, shot Amber before dumping her body in a garbage can in their garage.

Keith Allen Zotto (credit: 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office)

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

Amber’s mother reported her missing on July 2, 2019. When police searched the Zotto home, they found a gun in the trash can and Amber’s body covered in debris.

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

The couple’s children told investigators they had not seen their mother for two days. When interviewed by police, Keith Zotto claimed his wife left after they got in an argument.

The verdict came after a five-day trial. Keith Zotto will be sentenced on July 19. According to the DA’s office, the mandatory penalty for first-degree murder is life in prison without the possibility of parole.