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Emotional Day 1st Day For West Austin Hit And Run Trial
The first day of Gabrielle Nestande's trial was filled with tears from family of the victim and Nestande herself.
The 25-year-old is charged with hitting and killing Courtney Griffin with her car and then fleeing the scene.
The defense and prosecution told very different stories about what happened in the early morning hours back in May, 2011.
The defense painted Nestande (pictured) as scared, confused and full of remorse. The state says she just didn't want to get caught.
Gabrielle Nestande cried often in court Tuesday as her future now lies in the hands of attorneys and 11 jury members.
Assistant District Attorney Mary Farrington addressed the jury first. She described Courtney Griffin as a loving nanny who volunteered with animals. "She loved Austin. Austin was her home and she was very proud to be from here," she said.
Farrington switched tones when she turned to the defendant. She said Nestande changed her story several times and drank heavily before getting behind the wheel. "She didn't want to get caught driving that night, killing a human being, killing Courtney Griffin," she said.
The defense said Griffin had sips of drinks that evening and showed dark pictures of the scene of the accident.
"There's no way she could have seen Courtney Griffin at that moment," said Perry Minton, Nestande's attorney. "The evidence is going to show she was terrified."
The evidence includes a laundry list of witnesses who are now taking the stand. The defense told the jury it will take at least a week and a half to tell the whole story.
Nestande is charged with manslaughter and intoxication manslaughter, which are each punishable by up to 20 years in prison. She is also facing a charge of failure to stop and render aid, punishable by up to 10 years behind bars.
Photo from Austin police
By Katherine Stolp