Opening statements begin in Nestande case



Posted on February 12, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 18 at 12:40 PM

TRAVIS COUNTY -- Lawyers began opening statements Tuesday morning in the Gabrielle Nestande trial. She's the former legislative aide charged with the hit-and-run death of Courtney Griffin.

Prosecutors say they will build a case to try and prove 25-year-old Nestande was driving drunk when she hit 30-year-old Griffin and left her for dead.

Nestande became emotional on the stand as her lawyer recalled the crash in May 2011. Her defense lawyer, Perry Minton, is building the case that Nestande thought she hit a deer that night.

Police investigators say in actuality, she hit Griffin and kept driving.

"Why did she leave? It's clear," said a prosecutor. "She left because she was intoxicated. She left because she was intoxicated and didn't want to get caught...Killing a human being. Killing Courtney Griffin."

"You're gonna hear that she makes a statement to someone she will never get that image out of her mind. She will never get that image out of her mind. She will never get that scene out of her mind. She will never get that image out of her mind," Nestande's defense said. "The state is going to tell you that's some indication she saw something. She is gonna tell you that it's the whole experience."

Nestande was arrested the next morning at her job at the Capitol. She is charged with intoxication manslaughter, manslaughter and failure to stop and render aid.

The night of the crash, Griffin was visiting a friend. Tuesday that friend took the stand. The court also heard from police officers and firemen who responded to the scene.

Nestande's lawyer says she is expected to the stand in her own defense later this week.

Judge Karen Sage expects this trial to last two weeks.