Posted on February 19, 2013 at 8:14 AM
Monday, Mar 18 at 11:40 AM
AUSTIN -- Attorneys for a former legislative aide charged with manslaughter continued to try to poke holes in the case against her on Tuesday.
The defense began the morning by calling up the same witness who was on the stand when the court adjourned Monday evening.
Eric Moody is a civil engineer and is offering his expert opinion on the crash recreation. Moody is shedding doubt on whether Gabrielle Nestande ever knew she hit a person. Her lawyers pulled up diagrams and pictures of Exposition Boulevard where the crash happened.
Moody explained that it would have been hard for Nestande to see Courtney Griffin walking in the road in the middle of the night. He acknowledged though that Nestande was momentarily distracted. He says she took her eyes off the road to check an alarm on her phone, veered into bike lane and in that moment hit Griffin.
“Did you ask her why she didn't call police?” asked prosecutors during cross-examination.
“No,” said Moody. “I don't think at the time she'd realized she struck somebody and hurt somebody. For that reason, [she] didn't see anybody in the roadway and for that reason I don't think she'd call the police.”
Moody says Nestande checked her rear view mirror but never saw Griffin’s body.
Around 11:30 a.m., Nestande took the stand in her own defense.
She hadn't shown much emotion throughout the morning until she began crying soon after taking the stand and continued crying through much of her testimony.
Nestande told the court she drank four to five beers, and then had a wreck. She says she looked in her windshield but didn't see anything moving. She drove to her boyfriend, William's, house scared.
Nestande says William looked at her car, looked at the damage, and while he did that she says she "went and laid down in his bed." She fell asleep.
She says she woke up the next morning to William's alarm at 6:30 a.m.
She says she went outside and took pictures of her car to show her friends she'd been in an accident. She texted them so "everyone could see my car."
That morning she says she saw a dent on her car she hadn't seen the night before. She says she was worried about her dad and what he would say about her car "because he scares me and he gets mad."
Nestande took William's car to work the next morning at Rep. Wayne Christian's office.
She says she first went to a friend's office and told her she thought she'd hit a deer the night before.
Nestande says she had no idea she'd hit a person until Christian told her, and that she couldn't believe it when an officer arrived wearing a vehicular homicide shirt to question her. She says Christian took her aside and told her she should call her parents and get an attorney.
Nestande says she hasn't had anything to drink since May 27, and that she's lost approximately 20 pounds.
Just after noon, the prosecution took its turn to question Nestande.
Nestande told the prosecution she never got out of her car to look to see if she'd hit anything. She looked in her rear view mirror. "I didn't see anything," Nestande said starting to cry again.
The court broke for lunch just before 1 p.m. Testimony resumed at 2:15 p.m. Closing arguments began around 5 p.m.
The jury will continue deliberations Wednesday at 9 a.m.
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