Posted on February 22, 2013 at 10:33 AM
Monday, Mar 18 at 11:40 AM
AUSTIN -- The jury recommended a 10-year suspended sentence, or probation, for Gabrielle Nestande on Friday after she was found guilty of criminally negligent homicide. She will also have to pay a $10,000 fine.
Nestande will have another hearing on March 25, where terms and conditions will be set with her probation officer.
On Thursday, jurors found the 25-year-old former legislative aide guilty of criminally negligent homicide in the May 2011 hit-and-run death of 30-year-old Courtney Griffin. She was also charged with intoxication manslaughter, manslaughter and failure to stop and render aid.
Nestande faced anywhere from probation to two to 10 years in prison. Friday morning, her lawyers asked the jury to consider community service. Prosecutors say they don't believe that it is a just sentence. It's possible that she could serve her probation in California where her family lives. The rules of probation there differ from Texas regulations.
“If she does that she doesn't even have to meet with anyone. She can check in at a kiosk in the mall,” explained prosecutors.
Prosecutors played photos of Courtney Griffin to jurors during testimony of the punishment phase. Her dad took to the witness stand and talked about the shocking and sudden loss of his daughter. He said there have been questions from day one - wondering about the person who killed his daughter.
“Why would somebody, why would somebody do that to her? Who in the world could do that to her? What the heck is going on? It's just, it was heartbreaking,” said Bart Griffin.
Nestande cried as her dad came to her defense, saying he's seen a change in his daughter since the tragedy.
“It's such a tremendous stigma and strain on her that I don't believe alcohol will be a part of her life,” said Bruce Nestande.
Friday morning Nestande came in with little expression on her face. Her lawyers issued a letter in court reminding the jury that she has no prior felonies. That's what made her eligible for probation.
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