Austin Police have charged 21-year-old UT student Laura Ashley Hall
with a third-degree felony for hindering the apprehension of friend Colton Pitonyak
by helping him flee to Mexico after the murder of 21-year-old Jennifer Cave
. Pitonyak has been charged with Cave's murder and is being held in the Travis Co. jail on a $1 million bond; Hall is in jail on a $175,000 bond. Police found Cave's body in the bathtub in Pitonyak's apartment on Aug. 18; she'd been shot, stabbed, and dismembered. Pitonyak was arrested in Piedras Negras, Mexico, on Aug. 23, after police got a tip from a confidential informant that Pitonyak and Hall were staying at a Holiday Inn there a tip that was confirmed with a video image of Hall's dark green four-door Cadillac crossing the border into Mexico. Authorities quickly expelled the two from Mexico on an immigration violation, and U.S. Marshals arrested Pitonyak in Eagle Pass. Hall was not arrested and was released into her father's custody.
Later that day, APD homicide detectives got a call from a witness, Said Aziz, who said that Hall had called him several times that morning. Aziz said Hall told him that she and Pitonyak had "hauled in her Cadi" down to Mexico and that she was surprised that police had found them so quickly. Hall allegedly told Aziz that she wanted to help Pitonyak, and that Cave's murder was an accident. If Hall were to stick up for Pitonyak, she allegedly told Aziz, there would be a chance that Pitonyak might be acquitted on the murder charge. Aziz told police that he asked Hall why she would want to stick up for someone "who had just killed a girl much like herself," reads Hall's arrest affidavit, to which she replied that she loved Pitonyak and that "that's just how I roll."