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Wed Feb 20, 2013, 08:31 AM

Case of former aide to extremist Texas legislator goes to jury

Today an Austin jury will gather in Judge Karen Sage's 299th Criminal District Court to begin deciding the fate of 24-year-old Gabrielle Nestande, who is facing potential hard time in prison for the hit-and-run death of Courtney Paige Griffin, 30, in 2011. On the evening on May 26, 2011, Nestande went to at least one bar to celebrate an honor she received from the state legislature, in no small part for her work with Rep. Wayne Christian, one of the champions of forcing sonograms into women wanting an abortion. One acquaintance at the bar describe Nestande as "sloppy drunk." Bar video appears to show her needing help to stand before leaving. Nestande struck Griffin on a well-lit street but did not stop or call the police. (Her name dropping did not sway investigators who came to her office following an anonymous tip.) The crime scene photos were so grim that news agencies only showed hints of them to the public. Nestande's wealthy and well-connected GOP family in California paid for the best damage control attorneys in Austin. At best her attorneys are hoping for a conviction on the charge of failing to stop and render aid, but prosecutors presented a very strong case for an additional conviction on either manslaughter or intoxicated manslaughter.

If you pray, remember Courtney Paige's family. Or just think a good thought for them

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