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Nestande takes stand to testify in defense

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The last day of testimony in the Gabrielle Nestande trial was all about the defendant.

The former legislative aide to State Representative, Wayne Christian, is trying to stay out of prison. She's accused of being intoxicated and fatally running over Courtney Griffin on May 27, 2011.

One of her defense attorneys, Sam Bassett, asked her, "Whose responsibility is it that Courtney Griffin died?"

Nestande answered, "Mine."

It didn't take long for Nestande to break down on the stand. Nestande cried throughout her testimony. She cried when she told jurors she wished the incident never happened.

She cried again after saying she felt fine enough to drive just before the collision that killed Griffin. And even more tears as Nestande explained what she was doing while she was driving on Exposition Blvd.

"I was thinking I need to set my alarm for the next morning and um. After you thought about your alarm, tell the jury what you did. I picked up my phone from the cup holder set picked up phone from cup holder to see if my alarm has been set."

It was more matter of fact when Assistant District Attorney, Allison Wetzel, cross examined Nestande.

The defendant told jurors she was not intoxicated. She admitted she wasn't sober. She explains how she was feeling the effects of alcohol.

"I was happy, I was not feeling, by any means, that I could not handle myself," Nestande said.

Nestande then talked about after the collision.

"I was really scared when the accident happened someone was out there and that they deliberately did this to my car," she said.

"And you thought that person was still out there. Yes. Did you think that person out there would be dangerous to other motorists? Yes. And if they almost killed you, that they could have killed someone else? Honestly, I was so scared, that's why I had William go back and look."

"Did it not occur to you that a police guy could have done a better job to investigate? It didn't even cross my mind."

Nestande says she no longer thought something hit her car later that morning.

"Did you notice what looked like raw chicken stuck in your windshield? I didn't. And you didn't notice purple fibers stuck in the windshield? No I didn't."

"Because I couldn't see my car that well at night because my car was black and William's driveway is very covered and there were no lights, so I didn't see the dent and so the next morning when I saw the dent, that's when I must have hit a deer."

Nestande is charged with three crimes, intoxication manslaughter, manslaughter, and failure to stop and render aid. But if the jury finds Nestande not guilty of intoxication manslaughter and manslaughter, then it can consider criminally negligent homicide.

The latter is a state jail felony, punishable up to two years in jail. If convicted of either manslaughter charge, she could face up to 20 years in prison. If convicted of failure to stop and render aid, she could face up to 10 years in prison.

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