Posted on February 20, 2013 at 7:19 AM
Monday, Mar 18 at 12:40 PM
AUSTIN -- Day two of jury deliberations ended Wednesday around 8:44 p.m. with still no verdict. The jury will return to court Thursday at 9 a.m.
The families of both 25-year-old Nestande and the victim, 30-year-old Courtney Griffin, anxiously awaited the verdict from the hallway outside the courtroom.
Around 3:45 p.m., the jury sent the judge a note. They were having trouble convicting Nestande.
The judge told the jury they must reach a decision. "It is your duty to reach a just verdict," she said.
Months of heartache have all led up to this -- holding Nestande accountable for Griffin's death.
"It's been a very long wait. Anxious to get this process moving. If it's a few more days of waiting around, that's what we are prepared to do," Griffin's father, Bart Griffin, said Wednesday afternoon.
The jury initially went into deliberations Tuesday evening with the words of Nestande still fresh on their minds. She was the last to testify before closing arguments. While Nestande admits Griffin's death is her fault, she testified that she didn't know it at the time. Her lawyers reminded jurors of that in closing arguments.
“You hear someone tell you a story like this and you think 'Come on, really? Didn't know it? Didn't see it? Couldn't see it when she turned around and all that stuff?' But when she sat up there and told it to you, I believe that it makes sense and I do not believe that she was lying,” said Nestande’s attorney Perry Minton.
Prosecutors, however, reminded jurors of a different side to Nestande during closing arguments. They replayed a recording of a phone call she had with her sister while in jail immediately following her arrest.
“She told her sister 'I knew. Yes, I knew.' She says 'I'm never doing this again,' and she tells [her friend] Marchbanks, 'I can't get that image out of my head,'” said Assistant D.A. Allison Wetzel.
Nestande is facing up to 50 years in prison on charges of intoxication manslaughter, manslaughter and failure to stop and render aid.
If the jury doesn't convict on manslaughter, they can go for criminal negligence homicide -- the difference between a prison sentence versus a jail sentence.
If the jury reaches a guilty verdict, they will immediately go into the sentencing phase.
Nestande's criminal defense attorney Sam Bassett told a KVUE reporter they do not plan to comment until after sentencing.
KVUE.com will live stream the verdict as it is announced. Check back for more on this developing story.
You can stay up-to-date on this trial in our Nestande Trial section on our free mobile app. Just search "KVUE News" in your app store.