Opening arguments begin in Nestande trial - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Opening arguments begin in Nestande trial

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Gabrielle Nestande, 25, is fighting to stay out of prison. She's charged with intoxication manslaughter, manslaughter, and failure to stop and render aid.

The prosecution contends she was drunk when she drove her car into 30-year-old, Courtney Griffin, in 2011. Tears were free flowing from Nestande during opening arguments and throughout testimony.

In opening, the state described the victim as well loved. She worked as a nanny and at a vet clinic. The 30-year-old loved animals so much, she volunteered at Austin Pets Alive. On the day she died, May 27, 2011, Griffin met up with a friend who lived on Exposition Blvd. in West Austin.

She lost her life shortly after leaving to walk home.

Travis County assistant district attorney, Mary Farrington, says Nestande left Griffin to die.

"She's laying in the driveway with blood that has been streaming from her body down into the road , large amount of blood."

Paul Hathaway told jurors how he discovered the body when he was taking out the trash around 4:30a.m.

"I noticed a lump at the end of the driveway."

Defense attorney, Perry Minton, says Griffin's death is a tragedy and that the Nestande's are familiar with that pain.

"A family scrambling around in panic who lost one of their one of own children a year before that. They understand it. It is a tragedy. When you're in this business, you cannot help to take these things to heart and if you don't there's something wrong with you."

Perry says the defendant honestly thought a rock had hit her windshield and later thought she hit a deer. But the state says the jury will see bar receipts and bar video proving Nestande was intoxicated before causing Griffin's death.

If convicted, Nestande could face anywhere from probation up to 20 years in prison.

Testimony continues Wednesday at 9 a.m. Nestande is expected to testify next week.

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