Nestande Trial: State rests, defense begins


by JESSICA HOLLOWAY / KVUE News and photojournalist MICHAEL MOORE

Posted on February 18, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 18 at 12:40 PM

AUSTIN -- The state has rested in the Gabrielle Nestande trial.

On Monday afternoon, the jury listened to testimony from two expert witnesses who both re-created the accident scene.

The first one said that a sober person would have no problems seeing a woman walking along the side of the road on Exposition Blvd. The expert for the defense said that assessment is flawed because it doesn't take into account a glare or the fact that a driver would not be looking for a person walking in the bike lane.

The judge sent the jury home just before 5:30 p.m.

The judge said testimony will wrap up Tuesday and the jurors should make arrangements to stay late.

Earlier Coverage from KVUE's Jessica Vess:

Dramatic testimony is underway as the manslaughter trial of Gabrielle Nestande enters its second week. The former legislative aide is charged in a fatal hit-and-run crash.

Monday morning prosecutors introduced shocking text messages and a video. Both show Nestande's car the morning of the crash.

Austin Police Department Sgt. Michael McCarter shot the video during his investigation of the crash. He found Nestande’s black BMW parked in a driveway not far from the crash scene. In the video shown Monday in court, the jury watched as McCarter zoomed into the cracked windshield and through the back window. He testified that he saw an empty beer bottle in the backseat. McCarter also said he found hair on the windshield wiper and what looked like skin on the window itself.
At the time he shot the video, Sgt. McCarter said he interviewed one of Nestande's friends who told him she said someone threw something at her window.
It's a different story from what another friend testified Monday morning. Prosecutors pulled up texts between the two including a photo text that showed the smashed windshield of her car. Nestande’s friend testified that in the text Nestande told her she hit a deer.
A few weeks later, Sgt. McCarter says he re-interviewed one of those friends. By then he had a different side to what happened.
“He indicated that she confided in him that she struck somebody and that she couldn't get that image out of her head,” said Sgt. McCarter.
An APD crime scene analyst also took the stand on Monday and testified that DNA collected from tissue found on Nestande’s car matched the DNA of the crash victim, Courtney Griffin. Her family is sitting in the courtroom listening to the testimony unfold.
Nestande has kept her head down most of the time, avoiding eye contact.
Prosecutors are still calling witnesses.
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.

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