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Nestande Trial Jury To Continue Deliberating Wednesday Morning
Here in Austin, a high-profile trial nears a close after jury members deliberate into the night. On Wednesday morning, the jury will pick up where they left off, deciding the fate of Gabrielle Nestande. The former State Capitol staffer is on trial for a deadly hit and run from May 2011 that killed Courtney Griffin.
These deliberations come after a long, emotional day in court Tuesday, including a tearful nearly two-hour testimony from the 25-year-old defendant, who said she thought a rock hit her windshield. Later, Nestande watched with what looked like deep concern as both sides gave their final pitch to the jury during closing arguments. Prosecutors broke down each of the charges, pushing for intoxication manslaughter and calling Nestande a liar. The defense said Nestande was not drunk, but rather scared and unaware that she hit a human being. Nestande's lawyer said the evidence does not prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
"Absolutely she knew she hit a person," said Mary Farrington, Travis County Assistant District Attorney, during closing arguments Tuesday. "Absolutely. And she comes in here and says 'I didn't know. I just got scared. I just left.' We know why she left. She left cause she was intoxicated."
"Ms. Farrington submitted to you that 'We know she was this' and 'Absolutely she was that'. We don't," countered Perry Minton, the defense attorney. "And if we don't know and we can't get to beyond a reasonable doubt, then we should not be convicting that lady of anything."
The jury has four choices: intoxication manslaughter, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and failure to stop and render aid. Each charge means anywhere between two to 20 years behind bars if convicted.
By Adam Bennett