In August 2011, Prosecutor Phil Geigle's opening statement at Robbie Walter's trial stuns the courtroom as he simply reads Robbie's own words:
"'I took a shot in the dark. I took a swing where I thought her head would be. Like a ton o' bricks, like a...house fell on her. Bam,'" Geigle addressed the court. "'And she screamed, "Robbie! Robbie!" And I hit her again and again and again. She slammed on the brakes.'"
"As long as I do this job I'll never forget this case and those words," said Geigle.
The defense insists all that was just bravado, just "Robbie being Robbie" -- an immature, smart aleck who made up a story to scare away his annoying wife.
"Did you kill Brittney Brashers?" Susan Spencer asked Walters.
"No ma'am. And I hope to make that apparent," he replied.
Asked what was it like to walk into the courtroom and see Robbie Walters sitting there, Barry Brashers told Spencer, "Oh, you don't know how bad I wanted just to go hit him (laughs) -- just go hit him. Just like you 'Boom! How does that feel? Didn't see that one comin', did you?' Oh, it was so hard."
Prosecutors point to the fact that Brittney's car crashed around 1:40 a.m. -- odd, because witnesses said she and Robbie Walters left the photo shoot an hour before that.
"We know that it takes them an hour to get about five miles," said prosecutor Helen Morgan.
Shortly after they left, two 911 callers reported a car stopped in the middle of the highway:
911 caller: The car next to me just all of a sudden locked up their brakes completely and came to a stop.
"And that's how we know when that first punch happened," said Geigle.
There is some physical evidence, notably blood spatter in the car -- a sign Brittney was bleeding before the crash, says state expert Jonathyn Priest.
"Had she been involved in a traffic accident, where she moves forward in the car and hits her head on the windshield, the first injury that can cause bleeding is this impact with the windshield," Priest explained. "Yet there is blood that is in the car that has to occur before she hits the windshield. And those two places are...the airbag and...the dashboard."
Predictably, the defense's blood experts argue just the opposite, but this is not a forensics case. This case will rise or fall on Elena -- and she's had a long, complicated history with Robbie.
Elena Walters interrogation: I have no idea what to do, no idea what to say, no idea whether to believe it or not.
Before the trial, when Elena spoke with police, she told them that while Robbie was confessing to murder, he was also threatening her.
Det. Bisgard: How does he threaten you?
Elena Walters: Telling me how he'll kill me if I say anything, how he did it once before and he'll do it again, how he'll just punch me in my face, how he'll snap my neck...
Robbie Walters on Elena's recording: "I'm so close to killing you it's unreal. I want to punch you in the face so bad..."
Despite that, Elena stayed with him. Even when he was in jail awaiting trial, she took Robbie's calls, apparently eager to believe that he simply made it all up.
Robbie Walters: I wish you never recorded me.
Elena Walters: I wish you never told me any of those stories that were never true. Because that was not cool to do to me.
"She loved Robert Walters and that's beyond dispute. She was in her early 20s. She'd been with him since she was in high school. He was all she knew," said Geigle.
Elena Walters : Robbie, I love you. I love you so much.
Robbie Walters: You're going to be given an opportunity to prove that.
"You can see Robert Walters evolving," Geigle noted of the phone call. "You see his plans evolve."
At first, the prosecutors believe, Walters thought he'd just control what Elena would say when she testified.
"I think initially he would say things along the lines, 'Just tell 'em I was drunk or something like that,'" Geigle continued.
They say then, that his plan grew more sinister -- that Walters enlisted a fellow inmate to help him arrange to have Elena killed.
"He thought this was really going to happen?" Spencer asked Geigle.
"Absolutely. Robert Walters is the smartest guy in the room in his own mind," he replied.
That inmate turned State's witness in exchange for less prison time and Robbie Walters was charged with another crime: Soliciting Elena's murder. Remarkably, Walters still seemed to think she'd stick by him:
Robbie Walters: Hi Elena! ...I hope that you don't believe anything that these people are saying. I don't know -
Elena Walters: Robbie, I don't believe any word that comes out of your mouth.
And by the time Walters stands trial, there is no doubt. Elena is firmly on the State's side.
"Probably the second most painful thing I ever had to go through was watching Elena get on the stand and just cold blooded -- cold blooded, no emotion, totally heartless. Didn't even look at me, not one time even when they said, 'Point out Mr. Robert Walters', she didn't even look. She said, 'He's over here,'" Walters told Spencer.
"But she can't be trusted?"
"No. She was like a puppet," he replied.
"What was her motive for lying?"
"Oh, that -- oh, revenge for sure, for sure, for sure. She thought we were gonna be together. I fell in love with someone else. And broke her heart, broke her heart, tore her to piece -- tore it to pieces," said Walters.
"You think she would've cooperated if he'd been nicer to her?" Spencer asked Morgan.
"I think she would've done everything in her power to convince herself he didn't do it," the prosecutor replied.
"What gave her the most trouble?"
"Explaining why she stayed over and over and over again," Morgan replied.
Through it all, Elena finds an unlikely new friend... the father of her one-time rival.
"Very, very good girl, very-- very much so, stuck in a bad place. ...I'm glad that she did what she did," Barry Brashers said. "But if she was my daughter I would have wished she would have just got the hell out of there and not worried about recording how Brittney Brashers was dead."
Robbie Walters does not take the stand. His attorneys argue the medical examiner got it right the first time: The cause of Brittney's death just can't be determined. Now it's up to jurors.