A jury has found Robert Walters, 25, guilty of murdering his girlfriend, Brittney Brashers, in November 2009 by beating her to death. The jury found him not guilty, however, of soliciting the murder of his then-wife, Elena Walters, whom he was cheating on with Brashers. Prosecutors had alleged that Walters hired a fellow inmate to kill his wife so she couldn't testify against him at trial.
Walters and Brashers met in 2009 while both serving in the Air Force in Iraq.
The Walters trial began in late August in Denver District Court and stretched over three weeks. Closing arguments were heard on Wednesday. Prosecutors 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 made no sense. "This is not a murder," he said. "It's a car crash."
Late this afternoon, the jury indicated they had reached verdicts on the two counts: murder and solicitation to murder. As the judge read them, Walters stared straight ahead, his face seemingly expressionless. His mother, seated in the front row, audibly sobbed. Brashers's family, who was seated across the courtroom, did not cry out. Both families were then escorted out of the courtroom by sheriff's deputies.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Helen Morgan stopped to speak with a huddle of news cameras. "I understand where they ended up," she said of the jury. The defense tried mightily to discredit the main witness on the solicitation charge, an inmate with a long rap sheet named Rodrick Williams who got a deal in his own case to testify against Walters.
Morgan called the case "a difficult one" and said it was clear from the time paramedics responded to the supposed car accident and found Brashers dead but Walters unharmed, that something wasn't right.
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"But 'this isn't right' isn't enough to charge someone with murder," she said.
Instead, it took five months before Walters was arrested. Morgan credited police detectives' hard work and the eventual cooperation of his then-wife, Elena, who secretly recorded Walters talking about the crime and threatening her not to tell anyone.
For more on the case, read the Westword feature "Dead End."
More from our Colorado Crimes archives: "Robert Walters trial: Best friend of victim Brittney Brashers testifies about night she died."