In opening statements late Monday, the prosecutor told the jury the case they would hear was all about 23-month-old Carter Vetter.
His too-short life and his untimely death, Deputy County Attorney Holly Parsley said.
It will be about Micheal Wills, too, the man at the defense table who is accused of child abuse resulting in the toddler's death.
Wills had been watching Carter the night he died, while Wills' wife, Olivia, and Carter's mother, Katrina Saltzman, ran errands. They were gone for about 30 minutes from the house they all shared, along with Carter's sister and the Wills' two children.
At 9:45 p.m. March 2, rescue workers responded to a call from their home at 3601 Lewis Ave. and found Carter unresponsive.
He was pronounced dead at a Lincoln hospital less than an hour later.
In court Monday, attorneys on both sides called the little boy's death a tragedy, while at the same time drawing battle lines in a case that could come down to the testimony of disagreeing doctors.
Three for the state. Two for the defense.
Parsley said one of her experts, a pediatrician, will say that it's her medical opinion that the kind of injuries Carter suffered could not have happened the way that Wills told police they did -- as the result of a tantrum in which Carter threw his head back and thunked it on the floor.
She asked the jury to pay attention to his bruises, seen in pictures taken in the days and weeks before he died.
Carter had been full of life that day, running around and playing, Parsley said, but that night he lay lifeless, the result of a traumatic brain injury.
Wills' attorney, Shawn Elliott of the Lancaster County Public Defender's Office, argued there was insufficient medical evidence in the case.
"A perfectly innocent explanation is just as likely to be the cause of this child's death," he said.
Elliott said the bottom line was in the time Carter and his mother lived with the Wills family -- between Nov. 1, 2009, and his death March 2, 2010 -- Carter was growing up and starting to walk around in a house with three other young children, a large dog and toys all over.
He was known to throw tantrums and had earlier that day when he was out of town with his mother, Elliott said.
There was no question Carter's death was horrible, he said.
"But that doesn't mean that he was killed, and it certainly doesn't mean that Mr. Wills was responsible for his death," Elliott said.
The trial is expected to last into next week.