Former legislative aide Gabrielle Nestande took the stand Tuesday in her intoxication manslaughter trial.
Nestande began crying almost immediately after her lawyer started asking her about Courtney Griffin, the woman she is suspected of killing last year in a drunken hit and run.
Nestande admitted on the stand that she had some drinks the night of the wreck but that she was not drunk. She claims that she drank a diet soda, but did order a cider beer and returned it.
She testified that she did not know that she hit someone.
Her testimony tells a much different story than the one she told her mother last year after her arrest. Nestande’s jailhouse phone call to her mother was recorded.
Gabrielle Nestande: “Mom, I’m in jail”
Francesca Nestande: “Did you know at all, how drunk were you?”
Gabrielle Nestande: “Yes I did know (that she hit someone).”
Francesca Nestande: “You knew?”
Gabrielle Nestande: “I wasn’t, yes I did I know what happened.”
Nestande ran Griffin down last May on Exposition Blvd. in Tarrytown and then took off. When cops caught up with her the next morning, Nestande claimed she hit a deer.
The windshield of Nestande’s BMW had a caved in windshield. Blood, flesh and torn clothing was found in the shattered glass.
Griffin’s body was found in the bushes of someone’s home at the scene of the wreck. Griffin was a nanny and also worked as a veterinarian assistant.
Since Nestande fled the scene, police were never able to give her a blood alcohol test. Prosecutors now have to prove that she was out drinking and clubbing the night of the accident.
It is a tough row to hoe for the defense. DWI cases usually revolve around the suspect’s blood alcohol.