Robert Walters trial: Jury hears opposing theories of Brittney Brashers's death
This morning, jurors heard two versions of what happened to Robert Walters's girlfriend, Brittney Brashers, on the night she died.
In closing arguments, the prosecution argued that Walters beat Brashers to death and then faked a car accident to cover it up. However, defense attorney Fernando Freyre said that scenario doesn't make any sense. "This is not a murder," he said. "It's a car crash."
The case, which was the subject of the Westword feature "Dead End," is a complicated one, and the trial in Denver District Court spanned three weeks. This afternoon, jurors will likely start deliberating on a verdict.
Walters is charged with two crimes: murdering his girlfriend, Brashers, and soliciting the murder of his wife, Elena Walters. Prosecutors allege that Walters confessed Brashers's murder to his wife, who told the police. Then, after he was arrested, prosecutors say Walters hired a fellow inmate to kill her so she couldn't testify against him.
"The defendant never denies killing Brittney Brashers," said Chief Deputy District Attorney Helen Morgan in a clear, passionate voice. "It's all about what he's going to do about it."
The night she died, Brashers, an Air Force member stationed in Colorado Springs, spent the evening at a Denver strip club, participating in a photo shoot for a lingerie football league she had joined. Walters, who was two-timing his wife with Brashers, went with her. During the shoot, Brashers took her top off, which Walters later said made him "sad."
He told police that Brashers decided to drive the two of them home even though she'd been drinking. He said he fell asleep during the drive but was awakened when the car crashed into two parked vehicles on a dead-end street in west Denver. When paramedics arrived, Brashers was dead and Walters was screaming.
Morgan argued today that the physical evidence proves Brashers was bleeding before the crash. That, she said, supports what Walters later told his wife: that he was so enraged Brashers had taken her top off during the photo shoot that he decided to kill her.
Morgan read from a transcript of a recording Elena secretly made of Walters in which he says, "I never thought about killing her in detail until she took her top off... I was like, 'I'm killing her tonight'... and I went and killed her."
"That, members of the jury, is intent," Morgan said.
She also read from a transcript of a phone call Walters made from jail in which he says, "Elena is 100 percent the reason I'm in here." Jailhouse phone calls, letters and witnesses prove that Walters hired fellow inmate Rodrick Williams to kill her, Morgan said. "He wanted her dead. He thought Mr. Williams could help," she said.
But Freyre, Walters's defense attorney, said the prosecution's story is far-fetched. He said Walters was merely a 22-year-old kid when Brashers died -- a 22-year-old kid who wasn't very nice and who had a history of telling lies. "Saying you did it and doing it are completely different things," he said loudly and emphatically.
The physical evidence, Freyre said, is inconclusive. The coroner said he could not definitely prove why Brashers died and admitted on the witness stand that he "let himself become emotionally invested" in the case. Furthermore, Freyre said, there are holes in the prosecution's version of events, such as how Walters was able to drive the car to fake the crash if he'd already killed Brashers, who was in the driver's seat.
As for Walters's alleged confession to his wife, Freyre said Walters was lying again. Elena was living with him and his parents and he wanted her to move out, Freyre said, so he made up a story about how he killed Brashers. "Twenty-two-year-old kids do stupid things," Freyre said. "There is no evidence that what Robbie told his wife actually happened."
And the evidence that Walters hired Williams to kill his wife can't be trusted, Freyre said -- especially the testimony of Williams, a career criminal who got a break in his own case for testifying against Walters. Freyre called Williams's testimony "slick legal maneuvering" and said his story about the murder-for-hire is a "royal con."
"You have to find him not guilty," he implored the jury, lowering his booming voice.
We'll be sure to post an update when jurors returns their verdict.
More from our Colorado Crimes archives: "Alie Berrelez murder: DNA from underwear links chief suspect Nicholas Stofer 18 years later."
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