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Nestande Gets Probation For Hit And Run Conviction
Gabrielle Nestande was sentenced to 10 years in prison Friday afternoon for the 2011 hit and run death of Courtney Griffin, but the jury recommended the prison sentence be suspended and serve 10 years of probation instead. She also received a $10,000 fine.
Nestande, 25, was convicted of criminally negligent homicide Thursday for Griffin's death. Nestande hit and killed Griffin as Griffin was walking on Exposition Boulevard. Nestande left the scene of the crash.
During the closing arguments for the sentencing phase Assistant District Attorney Mary Farrington told the jury probation for Nestande is not appropriate. She warned the jury that probation would be lax if Nestande serves it in her home state of California. Then Farrington told the jury that prison time for Nestande would provide both a punishment and a deterrent for others.
Defense attorney Perry Minton says he and his father, legendary Austin lawyer Roy Minton, believe probation is not a slap on the wrist. He added that it's not the jurors' job to send a message to deter similar acts.
To watch the closing arguments in full, go to http://www.keyetv.com/news/features/raw-news/stories/gabrielle-nestande-punishment-phase-closing-arguments-72.shtml.
Art Acevedo, chief of the Austin Police Department, released a statement following the sentencing decision -
"While I'm deeply disappointed, I'm not surprised about the jury's decision(s) based upon a history of permissiveness in our community as it relates to holding criminal suspects accountable for their actions.
My heart goes out to the Griffin family who have been sentenced to a lifetime without their loving daughter, with woefully minor consequences for the individual responsible for this senseless and completely avoidable tragedy.
The men and women of the Austin Police Department will continue to tirelessly pursue those who place our community and families in dire risk of serious injury and death as a result of their criminal acts. We will also join the Texas law enforcement community in vigorously pursuing penalty enhancements at the Legislature for those who fail to stop and render aid to their victims.
We will continue to engage in our legislative and enforcement efforts in the name and memories of the countless Texans who have lost life and limb at the hands of others without excuse or justification by those responsible."