A veteran charged with killing his girlfriend, Robert Walters also put a hit on his wife, say police

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Soon after he was arrested and charged with murdering his girlfriend, Robert Walters asked for help. But the Iraq war veteran, then 23, didn't turn to the military, his lawyers, his parents, or even his friends. Instead, prosecutors allege, he sought out a man whose reputation matched the task he had in mind.

Help me kill my wife, he implored his jail mate. She knows too much.

Walters had been two-timing his wife with Brittney Brashers, a pretty, athletic fellow U.S. Air Force member he'd met overseas. Now Brashers was dead, the victim of what appeared to be a drunk-driving accident. When police responded to the scene, they found Brashers bloody and unconscious in the driver's seat and Walters beside her. Brashers's head was in his lap. He was screaming.


Robert Walters

Walters told police that he and Brashers were driving home to Colorado Springs after spending the evening at a Denver club where Brashers participated in a photo shoot. During the shoot, he said, she'd taken her top off, which made him "sad." But until the crash, he said, the drive home had been uneventful; with Brashers behind the wheel, Walters said he'd fallen asleep and awoke only when her Pontiac Vibe collided with a sedan and minivan parked on a dead-end street in west Denver at 1:40 a.m. A neighbor who'd heard the crash — and Walters's cries of "Brittney! Brittney!" — called 911.

In the days after the accident, Walters returned to his parents' home in Ontario, California, where his wife also lived. Within minutes of reuniting, he asked her to go for a walk. Then he started talking — and didn't stop for months.

After his arrest, as he sat in a Denver jail cell, Walters decided his best shot at freedom was to destroy the police's most crucial piece of evidence.


[Walters] says there was just so much rage, and his body was boiling. ... He states that it was all emotion bottled up. Anger, rage and wrath. He states that he just looked over and took a shot in the dark where her head would be, and boom.

— From summaries of recordings of Walters secretly made by his wife


Robert Walters is slim and good-looking, with a long face and brown hair that he keeps short on the sides, a bit longer on top. Everyone calls him Robbie. On January 22, 2009, at the age of 22, he married a girl named Elena. Court records indicate the two had known each other forever. But they didn't have much of a marriage. Walters deployed to Iraq a few days later, assigned to a security detail on a base there.

It was the same job assigned to Airman First Class Brittney Brashers, a baby-faced 21-year-old brunette with a small, upturned nose and a sweet smile who was from a tiny town in western Illinois. A romance developed. Brashers's best friend, Tiffany Feliciano, told police that Brashers liked Walters because he was a "good bad boy." In a recording obtained by police, Walters calls Brashers "the most important person in the world."

Adultery is against military law, especially flagrant adultery that has a "divisive effect on unit or organization discipline, morale, or cohesion." The maximum punishment is dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of pay and confinement for one year. Feliciano, who was deployed with Brashers in Iraq, told police that the Air Force issued a no-contact order for Brashers and Walters after he was found in her room.

Evidence suggests that they disobeyed that order and continued to do so when they returned stateside in June. At first Walters headed to North Dakota, where he was stationed, and Brashers was sent to Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. But within weeks, prosecutors say, Walters was discharged (Air Force representatives have declined to say why) and began bouncing between California and Colorado Springs.

Elena Walters knew about the affair. In late September, documents say, she called one of Brashers's superiors, Master Sergeant Arthur Figeroa, and told him that Brashers was planning to visit Walters in California. Figeroa confronted Brashers, who denied it. He warned her that she could get in trouble for messing with a married man, but Brashers assured him that Walters was planning to get a divorce. Later, however, she admitted that she had in fact gone to California — and brought Walters back to Colorado with her. They moved into a house off-base, where they lived with a roommate.

But their relationship was far from harmonious. They fought constantly, friends told police after her death, especially when they were drinking. Walters himself relayed one such fight in an interview with police the day he was arrested. It started because he'd continued to smoke cigarettes after he returned from Iraq, a habit Brashers hated. He and Brashers were at a club, and, frustrated, she'd danced with another man. Walters called her a whore and asked, "What the fuck are you doing? Like, why you actin' like a slut?" He later admitted that he "finally called her a slut like one too many times" and said she "ended up punching me in the face." He said he started to call the police on her but then hung up.

The next time the police were called, Walters wound up in handcuffs. He and Brashers were at a bar and began to argue about whether Brashers was "too good" for him, prosecutors say. As Walters drove them home, Brashers called Feliciano, who overheard Walters say he was "going to fucking wreck this car."

Back at home, the fight turned physical. Walters grabbed Brashers by the arms and threw her against her car, breaking the car's side-view mirror, prosecutors say. Brashers attempted to call the police, but Walters grabbed her cell phone and tossed it down the street, shattering it. Brashers responded by breaking the side-view mirror on Walters's car; she then ran to a neighbor's house to call the cops. Walters was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault. A judge issued a mandatory protection order, ordering Walters to have no contact with Brashers. He was released from jail two days later, on October 26.

That day, he called Feliciano. She happened to be with Figeroa, Brashers's superior, who overheard the conversation. Walters was clear: He said it was his "sole mission in life...to destroy Brittney and end her career."


[Walters] says he never hurt anyone so much in his life.... He states that she said, "Stop."... He states he did not know what she said, but he stopped for a split second. He then told himself, "Oh shit. I can't stop. I hit her." He says he could not be like, "Sorry, Britt. Sorry I punched you. Sorry I did that." He says he could not stop and it was done. He says that one punch killed her face.


Over the next few days, Brashers told her friends that she was finally done with Walters. She said he was "nothing but bad for her," prosecutors say, and explained to one friend that "Robbie was abusive when he drank too much, which was all the time." She told another friend that once, in the car, Walters threatened to "pull the wheel into traffic."

In addition to the court-issued protection order, Figeroa told police that he issued another military no-contact order for Brashers and Walters.

But, again, it seems the two couldn't stay apart. Prosecutors allege that Brashers was stuck in a classic domestic-violence relationship, making excuses to see Walters despite her misgivings. Walters, court documents indicate, was equal parts infatuated and infuriated with Brashers, whom friends describe on a memorial web page as upbeat and vibrant. Her high-school teachers remember her as a dedicated student who ran track and danced. In Colorado Springs, she served as a lab technician in the 21st Dental Squadron, which provides dental care to service members at Peterson Air Force Base. She also played in a women's tackle-football league called Foxxy Football and ran with the local Hash House Harriers, a social group that combines fitness and drinking. "She was a great person, pretty inside and out," says Anthony Sharer, who ran with her.

Though contact was forbidden and Walters moved out of the house they shared, his attorneys say that he and Brashers continued to see each other every day, adding that Brashers told their roommate that "she still had feelings for Mr. Walters even after all they had already been through." Evidence shows they were also in touch by text and phone, and that their explosive relationship was continuing. Police recovered a five-minute voice-mail message that Walters left for Brashers during that time. In it, he said he was on his way over to her house, and he referenced the time Brashers punched him. "I fucking hate you," he said. "I hate you. I hate you. I can't say it enough times.... You want to act like you're a big badass and act like you're the one in charge. Fuck you.

"I wish you would fucking die."

In mid-November, Brashers told Feliciano that she wanted to break up with Walters once and for all but was worried that he would tell her superiors that she had violated the military no-contact order. She didn't want to be kicked out of the Air Force.

But the next day, she apparently changed her mind.

"Let me stay with u 4 one nite?" Walters texted her at 2:39 p.m. on Monday, November 16.

"Of course," she texted back at 2:40.

Walters seemed sheepish, grateful. "Just one nite," he wrote. "And if anything goes wrong, I can just get a hotel. Where can I meet up with u?"

"I'm getting ready to head to denver in a few," Brashers texted back. "Ill call u when we r done with the shoot."

Brashers was scheduled to participate in a photo shoot at the Grand Paladium, a large, isolated nightclub just north of Denver with Greco-Roman columns out front and statues of lions guarding the entrance to the attached strip club, the Oasis Cabaret. (Both businesses are now closed; they were seized for tax evasion last February.) The photo shoot was for Foxxy Football, a budding women's league in which the players wear spandex shorts and sports bras that show their midriffs.

"Take me with u," Walters texted.

"Ok," Brashers answered. "You cant in to the shoot tho, you will have to take my car and hang out till im done..."

When they arrived at the Paladium at 6 p.m., prosecutors say, Walters headed into the strip club while Brashers met four other Foxxy Football players in a private room for the shoot. The other women told police that throughout the night, Brashers kept ducking into the strip club for drinks. Walters later told detectives that Brashers was nervous and drank three Jägerbombs. At 10:30 p.m., Brashers called Feliciano. She said Walters wasn't allowed into the shoot and she was afraid he was going to kill himself.

Sometime later, the other players told police that Brashers asked if her "ex-boyfriend" could sit in a corner of the room while they finished the shoot. One woman reported that "he had been kicked out of the strip club for being obviously drunk."

Drunk or not, something weird was going on, the women told police. One woman, who didn't know Walters, later described him as a "creepy white male." Others said he appeared to be alternately laughing and crying. When Brashers took her shirt off for some topless shots, the women said Walters began fiddling with his cell phone.

At 11 p.m., Walters texted Brashers. "Take me back to Colo Spgs please," he wrote. "Im not strong enough ... Pityh me ... Pity."

At 11:02 p.m., he left a voice-mail message for Figeroa. "Hey, Sarge, it's your best bud," Walters said. "This is Robbie Walters, and Brittney has broken her no-contact order. I'm at a strip club in Denver right now with Brittney. Yes, Brittney is that stupid where she would come to a strip club with me."

He continued. "Come on, Sarge, let's destroy her," he said. "She is fucked up again. This is the second, third or fourth time she fucked up. I'm at a strip club now, and she's flashing her naked body to anonymous strangers."

He ended the message with this: "Yes, I'm a dick. I know you don't like me, but I don't care. But I've got the proof, and you need to kick her out. Peace."

Walters left another voice-mail message twenty minutes later. "She is the most evil woman I've ever known," he said. "That bitch needs to be kicked out!"

When the photo shoot ended, at about 12:30 a.m., one of the women asked Brashers why her ex-boyfriend was crying. Prosecutors say Brashers told her "it was because another man had seen her breast and that he was extremely jealous."


He says he grabbed her head and she was completely limp. She could not move her arms. He states he thought she was brain dead from the punches to her face. [Walters] thought she had brain damage. He says she was already dying. If he would have left her there, she would have died. So [Walters] grabbed her head and just rolled it into his arms. He says she was like, "No." [Walters] states he choked her.


Denver firefighter Derek Walrum was one of the first people to respond to the scene on the 100 block of South Yuma Street, a clearly marked dead-end street within a neat subsidized housing development three blocks from busy, gritty West Alameda Avenue. The street is lined by a park on one side and identical brick apartments on the other, and is located ten miles from the Paladium and a full mile from the highway.

It was foggy that night, Walrum testified at a pre-trial hearing, and as firefighters drove toward the dead end, the accident slowly came into view. An agitated man sat in the passenger seat of a smashed-up car. "Brittney! You've got to be okay!" he shouted. Next to him was an unconscious woman. He was shaking her, as if to wake her up.

Something struck Walrum as odd. In court, he described it as "a very untypical accident." Walters, he said, was combative. Though firefighters told him they needed to keep the woman's head still to prevent further injuries, he wouldn't let go. Once firefighters extricated her, they realized she wasn't breathing and began CPR. Walters seemed less hurt, but they strapped him to a backboard to be safe.

"The amount of injury to the one party and not to the other was very atypical," Walrum testified. "It was just a strange feeling. I can't explain it a lot more, more than just a lot of things just didn't seem to fit together."

For instance, Walrum said, "I got the feeling from the time that I approached the male party that he knew the state of the person, the female party.... Just got the feeling that he knew that she was deceased at the time."

That afternoon, Denver homicide detective Troy Bisgard was approached by a detective from the traffic investigations bureau. The traffic detective had just returned from the autopsy of a young woman who was killed early that morning in a car accident, and he was troubled. "He did not see any injuries on the victim consistent with that that he's seen in a car accident," Bisgard testified at a different pre-trial hearing.

Instead, the injuries were "consistent with an assault to the right side of her face," Bisgard said. There were red marks on her neck as well as petechial hemorrhaging, tiny red pinpoint marks that are a sign of asphyxiation, on her body.

The victim, the traffic detective explained, was an active member of the U.S. Air Force. For that reason, a special agent from the Air Force was also at the autopsy, and he told the detective that there was a history of domestic violence between the victim and the accident's only witness: a former Air Force member named Robert Walters.

Bisgard didn't waste any time. He called the hospital to see if Walters was still there; he wasn't. He also called the impound lot to which Brashers's car had been towed. Hold it for me, he said. Don't let anybody touch it.

An hour later, he got a call from a woman who identified herself as Belinda Walters, Robert Walters's mother. She said she'd gotten his number from the impound lot. Her son's keys were in the car, she said, and he needed them back.

Can I speak to your son? Bisgard asked. The woman put him on the phone. "He didn't shed a lot of light on what happened," Bisgard testified. "He told me he had no idea why they were there. He had no idea why they crashed." He did, however, mention a fight they'd once had in which Brashers punched him. He also told Bisgard about the strip club and the photo shoot and about Brashers taking her top off.

How did that make you feel? Bisgard asked.

"He said that it made him sad," Bisgard later testified.

Then Walters handed the phone back to his mom.

Belinda Walters didn't return phone calls from Westword for this story. Neither did friends of the couple, or Brashers's family. But both families have been in court for the pre-trial hearings. At one recent hearing, Belinda Walters sat on the front-row bench, as close to her son as she could get. When Walters, dressed in a green prison jumpsuit and handcuffs, answered a question from the judge with a brief and courteous, "Yes, ma'am," Belinda Walters choked back emotion. "That's my baby," she whispered.


I don't like your fucking emotion. I don't like the way you are with me.... I don't like that you're still trying to be with me after every fucking thing I've done to you. I don't fucking like you! I don't respect you as a human being.... I'd shit on you. I chose another girl over you. I went to Colorado to live with somebody else other than you, over my family. I gave up on all of you. I don't like you people.... I love you in the sense that I would die for you, but I don't like you.... I don't like my fucking life.

— From a transcript of a recording of Walters talking to his wife


Walters returned home soon after the accident in November 2009. His wife, Elena, was still living at his parents' house, and within fifteen minutes of seeing her, Walters asked her to go for a walk. "Walters immediately started saying that he'd killed Brittney," Bisgard testified. "She was saying things like, 'No, no, you're just a mess over the accident, but you didn't kill her.' He said, 'No. I killed Brittney.'"

Afraid that neighbors would hear him, Walters insisted they drive to a park. There he led his wife to a baseball dugout and detailed how he'd done it. "He'd made up his mind during that photo shoot when [Brashers]...took her top off," Bisgard said. "At one point when they were driving back to Colorado Springs, he just punched her in the face."

Police pieced together what happened next from interviews with Elena and 22 recordings she secretly made of her husband. After Walters punched her, Brashers slammed on the brakes. He grabbed the wheel and steered the car to the side of the highway, where he continued to hit her hard. "He said it had to have felt like a house hit her," Bisgard testified. She was bleeding from her head, cheek and jaw.

Somehow, Walters maneuvered the car off the highway, came to a stop and got out to urinate. In a recording, he told Elena that he was still drunk and thought to himself, "What the fuck have I done?" Brashers was drifting in and out of consciousness, but Walters said he could tell she was "utterly scared." He considered taking her to the hospital but decided against it because he was afraid she'd tell the doctors what happened and he'd to go jail. He also thought about lighting the car on fire, he said in a recording, but then decided, "No, I'll just go with the original car accident plan."

But first he had to finish her. Elena told police that Walters pantomimed pushing on Brashers's neck with his forearms, as if to break it.

When Brashers stopped breathing, Walters drove to a dead-end street. He told Elena that he propped Brashers up in the driver's seat, unbuckled her and then buckled himself into the passenger's seat. With his feet and hands, he floored the gas pedal and steered the car toward the dead end. Then he let go of both, and the car drifted, slamming into two parked vehicles. "Brittney flew up and her head hit the windshield and then she was in his lap," Bisgard testified in court. "He started screaming. In fact, he told [Elena] that he had to put on a show for everybody at the scene."

Elena did not call the police. Prosecutors say Walters made sure of it.

In the months following the conversation in the dugout, Walters berated, threatened and emotionally abused his wife, prosecutors say. He did everything he could to keep her from squealing. Sometimes he asked for sympathy. Other times he warned that she'd be next.

Elena captured many of their exchanges with her cell phone's built-in recorder. In the first of these, on Christmas morning, he repeatedly told her, "I'll kill you." According to prosecutors, in another he told her she "needed to die because she knows too much information."

Sometime thereafter, a friend named Ronnie Delgado was at Walters's parents' house while Walters and Elena were in a room upstairs, arguing. At one point, the house phone rang, and when no one answered, the answering machine picked up. It was Elena, screaming for help from upstairs. Walters, she said, had just told her that "her life was going to end in five minutes." Delgado ran upstairs, but he told police that when he burst into the room, Walters acted like nothing threatening was going on.

Afterward, Delgado told police that Walters "began to talk about what had happened with Brittney. He said that he killed her."

But in some of Elena's recorded conversations, Walters expressed remorse. He talked about "how he wants to die because he killed someone." One day, prosecutors say, Elena found Walters sitting in the bathtub in his boxer shorts, a razor blade and a letter by his side. Walters said he'd rather kill himself than go to jail, Elena told police.

But jail was looking more and more like a real possibility, especially after police talked to Blain Perry, a friend of Walters's from the Air Force. He was also friends with Elena and with Walters's sister, Stephanie, and he told Bisgard that both women confided in him that Walters had confessed to killing Brashers.

Bisgard's next move was to call Elena.

On March 29, prosecutors say, she divulged her story: how her husband confessed, how he threatened her, how he said police would never believe her because she was just his "crazy ex." But Bisgard did believe her, and on April 1, he flew to California to oversee Walters's arrest, which occurred without incident in his parents' front yard.


[Elena] states that [Walters] killed someone and asks how she is supposed to react around him. [Walters] tells her not to threaten him. [Walters] then tells her he doesn't care. Elena tells him he needs to care and that he is a "piece of shit" for killing someone. [Walters] then tells her that he is going to kill two people.... [Walters] states it will be the last thing he does: to hunt her down and "fuck her up."


Maybe Walters didn't have much faith in the justice system. Or maybe he had too much faith. Either way, prosecutors say he decided to take matters into his own hands.

In June, they say, two months after he was arrested, Walters approached a fellow inmate at the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center named Rodrick Williams. Williams was a con's con, a career criminal fifteen years Walters's senior. He had a reputation for getting things done, and Walters soon asked for his assistance. "He needed [Williams] to get him some kind of an expert witness, a coroner or some sort of faked autopsy report that would show that the victim was not murdered," Bisgard testified, "that, in fact, the injuries to her neck were caused by a seat belt or the airbag." But Walters soon changed his mind. "He said the only thing that the prosecution had against him was his wife's statement," Bisgard said.

"So Mr. Walters asked [Williams] if he could have her killed."

The two began to form a plan, prosecutors say. Williams would arrange for a woman named Beverly to drive to California, pick up Elena and bring her to Colorado. In a letter, Walters told Elena that coming to Colorado would make up for her talking to the police, according to prosecutors. By the time she got here, he wrote, he'd be out of jail and they could be together. But the real plan was for Williams to have her murdered.

The price was $6,000 — $2,000 up front "to prove that Mr. Walters was serious about the murder," Bisgard testified, and another $4,000 when it was done.

The hit never happened. Instead, on July 6, Williams called the police. I want a deal, he said. He had amassed a packet of information on Walters, helpfully labeled "Evidence A — P," and he wanted to sell it to the district attorney in exchange for making "it all go away." When Bisgard met with him the next day, Williams was adamant that he couldn't go back to prison. Williams said he was afraid he'd be killed for having snitched.

Though Bisgard testified that he never guaranteed Williams a deal, Williams shared his information with police and prosecutors anyway. He said he never intended to kill Elena and was only trying to hustle some money out of Walters, whom he described as "arrogant." "He didn't want to see him get away with murder," Bisgard testified.

Williams handed over a financial statement to police that showed payments made to his jail account from Elena and Belinda Walters. He also had Walters's letter to Elena, which he had intercepted, as well as letters from Walters to him, inquiring about the progress of the hit. In the letters, Williams said, Walters called himself "Willy Wonka." Williams also turned over a photo of Elena he claimed Walters had given him.

As it does with all inmates, the sheriff's department had been recording Walters's phone calls, and on June 9, he did ask his family for money. He said it was for a lawyer and instructed his mother to get two money orders, one for $175 and one for $1,000, made out to Rodrick Williams. Elena told the police she borrowed $300 from Walters's grandmother to send as well.

It was enough for the police. On August 20 of last year, they charged Walters with a second crime, in addition to the first-degree murder of Brittney Brashers: solicitation to commit the murder of Elena Walters.


[Walters] talks about how he had the plan and went through with it, step by step. He tells Elena he has always been this way.... They argue about how he should have gotten help ten years ago, and if he did, [Brashers] would still be alive. They argue about how there is no fixing him and that it is just how he is. [Walters] tells her that he won't go to jail and that is a promise. He tells her that he got away with murder approximately two months ago and it was already done. [Walters] repeatedly tells her that he got away with it.


Although the defense wanted to separate the murder case and the attempted-murder case, the judge rolled them into one. A trial is set to begin on August 30.

Prosecutors have won some early battles. In March, Judge Anne Mansfield ruled that the Denver District Attorney's Office will be allowed to tell the jury about the relationship between Walters and Brashers prior to her death, including the time he called her a whore at a club for dancing with someone else, the fight that led to his arrest in Colorado Springs, the voice-mail messages he left for her boss, and the message in which he said he wished she were dead. "Each of these incidents describes the defendant's percolating anger and his rage toward the victim," Mansfield said in court. The incidents "form a single criminal episode" — an episode she described as "a murder that took a month to commit."

Mansfield will also allow prosecutors to tell the jury about Walters's conversations with Elena. "In each one of these, the defendant makes statements that would tend to lead the listener to believe that the defendant understood that he had confessed to the murder, that he was conscious of his guilt," Mansfield said.

Prosecutors also seem to have some forensic evidence on their side. At a recent hearing, Chief Deputy District Attorney Helen Morgan referenced a report by a crime-scene reconstruction expert who will testify at trial. "What he does is, he looks at the whole crime scene and says, 'I see certain wounds and I see blood as a result of certain wounds, and the way I see the blood, I can tell you that Ms. Brashers is bleeding before the impact. I see photographs at the photo shoot and there are no wounds, and I see photos from the crime scene and from the autopsy, and there are,'" Morgan said.

But much of the case will rest on the credibility of witnesses.

Walters's defense attorneys have tried to cast doubt on witnesses' reliability and have won some battles of their own. In doing so, they've revealed some of their strategy. At one hearing, for instance, Will Drexler, one of Walters's two public defenders, called Elena "the estranged wife" and implied that the information she gave police should be viewed in context. She was aware of her husband's affair, Drexler said, and she was angry about it.

Walters's attorneys will also attempt to discredit Williams. They've fought hard to gain access to evidence to impeach him and another jailhouse informant named Michael Leathers, who came forward a few months ago. Leathers told police that before Walters asked Williams to kill his wife, he asked him to do the same thing. Walters had "an intense loathing for Elena," Leathers told Bisgard in mid-May, adding that he "wanted her to be killed and 'disappear' prior to her testimony." But Leathers said he declined to do the job. He also told Bisgard that he was present for many of the conversations between Walters and Williams and can corroborate Williams's story.

But Walters's attorneys don't think Leathers can be trusted. After he talked to police, records show a judge reduced the thirty-year-old's sentence at the request of prosecutors. He is now serving the remainder of a two-year sentence after parole officers found suspected marijuana, methamphetamine, baggies and a scale in his apartment, along with a handgun. Leathers's pregnant girlfriend claimed responsibility for the drugs and the gun, but Leathers decided to plead guilty anyway. "I know that I have done nothing wrong," he wrote in a letter to the court, "but I am acutely aware of my past criminal history and the incredible risk involved in a trial." Indeed, Leathers's rap sheet is bad. In 2000, at the age of nineteen, he pleaded guilty to beating a 39-year-old homeless man who earned money playing harmonica on the 16th Street Mall.

Williams also can't be trusted, the attorneys say. When he met Walters, he was in jail for a string of armed robberies. The victims had all described him the same way: a black male with a lazy eye. The police nicknamed him "The One Eyed Jack." Facing decades in prison, the forty-year-old cut a deal with prosecutors in which he pleaded guilty to one count of robbery in exchange for cooperating in Walters's case. In December, a judge sentenced him to just ten years. "The facts of this case are serious," Judge Shelley Gilman said. "He terrorized and traumatized his victims."

"I know today he expresses remorse and hope, and I appreciate that," she added. "I was very close to rejecting this plea agreement, but I will reluctantly accept it."

Fernando Freyre, Walters's other public defender, was much harsher in his assessment of Williams. At a pre-trial hearing, he said, "As far as I'm concerned, he's a liar, he's a snitch, he's got prior felony convictions, he's got motive to lie."

Also at issue is his mental health. Williams was diagnosed as bipolar and manic depressive while in prison and also suffers from anxiety. Defense attorneys for Walters recently won access to Williams's mental health records in order to comb them for something that would show that Williams may not be credible — or that he's crazy.

They've also lined up their own crime scene and forensic experts, but they have not endorsed any experts to testify about the emotional stress of war or how PTSD can affect a soldier's mental health. They seem poised to argue that the physical evidence supports the theory that Brashers died in a tragic car accident, not that she was murdered.

But will the jury agree? Or will they be more convinced by Walters's own words, forever captured on tape and damningly summarized in court documents as follows:

"He tells Elena that he thought about killing Elena in detail a couple of different times with a couple of different scenarios, but never Brittney. He says that he never thought about killing her in detail until she took her top off that night. He says that when she took her top off, he realized that she was the scum of the earth and decided he was going to kill her that night. He says he made the decision to kill her and went through with it."

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