Gabrielle Nestande is found guilty of criminally negligent homicide for the hit and run death of 30-year-old Courtney Griffin. Friday, jurors will decide if she'll serve two to ten years in jail or be on probation.
After 21 hours of deliberation, the jury reached a verdict.
"We the jury find Gabrielle Nestande guilty of the offense of criminally negligent homicide and we the jury find the defendant not guilty of failure of stop and render aid," read Judge Karen Sage, 299th District Court.
Jurors also determined that Nestande used her vehicle as a deadly weapon, therefore enhancing the charge of criminally negligent homicide to a 3rd degree felony punishable by two to ten years in prison.
Shaken and crying her attorney comforted her with a nudge on the arm. She smiled a bit, but then was brought to tears again in the sentencing phase as Courtney Griffin's dad took the stand.
"Just something I'll never forget when your own daughter calls and tells you your daughter's been killed and somebody's left her on the side of the road," said Griffin of the moment he found out about Courtney's death.
Jurors learned Griffin was killed shortly after her 30th birthday. She worked at an animal hospital and fostered pets.
"From an early age she loved animals. In fact the dog we have today 17 years old. She brought him home. Do you want a dog? Absolutely I don't want a dog. We have him till this day, " Griffin said.
Nestande's father Bruce testified next. He talked about his daughter's calling to help others.
"She did volunteer work at the goodwill and with children and what have you. It's always been a priority with her and has continued throughout her life," he said.
Nestande also testified that his daughter quit drinking after the accident, but the assistant district attorney told him that she uncovered a liquor store visit three days after the accident.
"Are you aware of a charge on your daughter's credit card to a liquor store on the 30th?" the prosecutor asked.
"We share a credit card. It may have been possible. If it's there, it's there," Nestande said.
Nestande's best friend's mom also testified on her behalf.
"Gabby is very loving, she's very compassionate. She cares," the woman said.
The defense wants jurors to give Nestande probation. A probation officer testified that since Nestande is a current resident of California, she would serve her probation there.
The probation officer said the way probation is done in California is not as strict as Texas. If in Travis County, she said, Nestande would have to check in once a month. The probation officer said in California it's sporadic and sometimes people don't meet their officer face-to-face. It's done in a kiosk.
The probation officer also said Nestande would not be able to drink while on probation.
The sentencing phase picks back up Friday morning at 9.