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Judge tells Nestande jury to continue deliberating

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  • Judge tells Nestande jury to continue deliberating deliberations continue in Nestande caseMore>>

  • Nestande takes stand to testify in defense

    Nestande takes stand to testify in defense

    Tuesday, February 19 2013 7:20 PM EST2013-02-20 00:20:44 GMT
    Gabrielle Nestande took the stand Tuesday morning in her intoxication manslaughter trial.
    Gabrielle Nestande took the stand Tuesday morning in her intoxication manslaughter trial.
  • Nestande trial to continue Monday

    Nestande trial to continue Monday

    Friday, February 15 2013 7:17 PM EST2013-02-16 00:17:40 GMT
    The fatal hit and run trial of a former state legislative aide, Gabrielle Nestande, wrapped up a week of testimony Friday with tears from both sides in this tragic case. The words from the accused have
    The fatal hit and run trial of a former state legislative aide, Gabrielle Nestande, wrapped up a week of testimony Friday with tears from both sides in this tragic case. The words from the accused have
  • 'Bombshell' evidence revealed in Nestande trial

    'Bombshell' evidence revealed in Nestande trial

    Thursday, February 14 2013 7:29 PM EST2013-02-15 00:29:44 GMT
    A courtroom bombshell happened late Thursday in the hit and run trial of a former legislative aide. It was the result of what appears to be a well-played trap sprung prosecutors.
    A courtroom bombshell happened late Thursday in the hit and run trial of a former legislative aide. It was the result of what appears to be a well-played trap sprung prosecutors.
  • Bartenders testify in Nestande trial

    Bartenders testify in Nestande trial

    Wednesday, February 13 2013 6:59 PM EST2013-02-13 23:59:40 GMT
    On the second day of the Gabrielle Nestande trial jurors heard from bartenders who said they served Nestande alcohol on the night she is accused of killing Austin woman Courtney Griffin.
    On the second day of the Gabrielle Nestande trial jurors heard from bartenders who said they served Nestande alcohol on the night she is accused of killing Austin woman Courtney Griffin.
  • Opening arguments begin in Nestande trial

    Opening arguments begin in Nestande trial

    Tuesday, February 12 2013 7:50 PM EST2013-02-13 00:50:15 GMT
    Opening arguments began Tuesday morning in the Intoxication Manslaughter case of Gabrielle Nestande.
    Opening arguments began Tuesday morning in the Intoxication Manslaughter case of Gabrielle Nestande.
  • Jury selected in Nestande trial

    Jury selected in Nestande trial

    Tuesday, February 12 2013 9:11 AM EST2013-02-12 14:11:50 GMT
    Nine men and three women were chosen on Monday to sit on the jury in the fatal hit-and-run trial of former Capitol staffer Gabrielle Nestande.
    Nine men and three women were chosen on Monday to sit on the jury in the fatal hit-and-run trial of former Capitol staffer Gabrielle Nestande.

The judge in the Gabrielle Nestande trial ordered the jury to continue deliberating Wednesday afternoon after explaining the charges to them once more.

The jury has been deliberating since Tuesday night and told Judge Karen Sage they were having difficulty reaching a decision. Sage explained the charges to the jury and told them it was their duty to reach a verdict and that they must continue deliberations.

Sage then explained to the jury that if they could not reach a verdict a mistrial would be declared. If a mistrial is declared then Nestande would remain under indictment until a new trial takes place.

Nestande faces four charges--intoxication manslaughter, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and failure to stop and render aid.

The jury resumed their deliberations at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday. Closing arguments in the case wrapped at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday night, and jurors spent three hours going over the evidence before ultimately failing to reach a verdict. Prior to the closing arguments, Nestande took the stand in her own defense.

For the first time Gabrielle Nestande told her perspective of what happened during the hours leading up to Courtney Griffin's death.

First--her trip to The Cloak Room, a bar by the Capitol, then Clive Bar on Rainey Street where she admitted to drinking one full beer, half of four beers, a couple sips of a vodka drink and a shot, which the jury saw video of her taking last week.

"Looking back should you have driven after that?" the defense attorney asked.

"I felt fine," Nestande said.

She added tired, but okay.

Then, she spoke about the moment she turned on Exposition Blvd. and revealed that distracted driving played a role.

"I drove about three or four blocks, and I was thinking I need to set my alarm, I wanted to make sure it was set for the next morning," Nestande said choking back tears. "I set my phone in the cup holder to see if it had been set. My windshield just shattered. It was just an instant. It was so quick."

She said she pulled over.

"I remember just looking down, I was so scared, my heart was beating out of my chest. My windshield was shattered. There was glass on the passenger side. I looked in my rearview in the street to see if anything was moving and it wasn't," Nestande said.

Fearing someone may have thrown a rock at her car. She went to her boyfriend's house.

In closing arguments the prosecution told jurors not to believe her story--stating that she saw Griffin hit her car. They also painted Nestande as a woman who lived a life of entitlement and was more worried about going to jail than hurting someone.

"This selfish self-centered woman went to her boyfriend's house to hide her car, to get in his bed and pull the covers over her head and go right to sleep," said prosecutor Allison Wetzel.

Meanwhile Courtney Griffin died alone.

"She needed somebody to help her that night if not somebody to hold her hand so she didn't have to die alone without anybody who loved her," said prosecutor Mary Farrington.

One of Nestande's defense attorneys said her decision not to stop makes sense for a young woman alone on a dark night. And they also spoke about how the darkness contributed to the accident.

"Many drivers, sober normal drivers would have a difficult time seeing pedestrians under normal circumstances, that's more than a reasonable doubt. That is not guilty," said Defense Attorney Sam Bassett.

They also painted doubt about her level of intoxication--stating even APD officers did not take her blood the morning of the accident and didn't see any signs of her being drunk the night before.

"It is easy to be angry at her. You read about these all the time. There were two of these same kinds of accidents this week. You get it in your mind we have to stop this. This is not your job. If it ain't there it ain't there," said Defense Attorney Perry Minton.

 

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