AUSTIN (KXAN) - The jury reconvened at 9 a.m. Thursday after a full day of deliberations left them without a verdict.
The group was sent home shortly before 9 p.m. Wednesday after 15 hours of deliberation over two days.
On Thursday morning, some of Courtney Griffin's family mingled outside the courtroom in the hallway. Griffin is the woman killed when she was hit by Nestande's car in the early morning hours May 27, 2011. None of Nestande's family had come to the courthouse by 11 a.m.
Earlier in the day Wednesday, the judge in the Gabrielle Nestande case gave the jury further instructions and told them to continue deliberating.
The action came after nearly 10 hours of deliberation over the two days when the jury sent Judge Karen Sage a note saying they were having trouble reaching an agreement on a verdict in the intoxication manslaughter case.
Sage told the jurors that if they cannot agree, a mistrial would be declared and another jury would have to hear the exact same evidence. Sage said there is no reason to believe that jury will find the decision easier than the current jury.
The judge also made clear that the charges that jurors are to consider are intoxication manslaughter, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and failure to stop and render aid.
While the jury in Nestande's intoxicated manslaughter trial continued its deliberations, the father of the woman who died in the May 2011 hit-and-run said he was hopeful that justice would be done.
"We feel like the prosecution put on a good case," Bart Griffin told reporters outside the Travis County courtroom at mid-afternoon Wednesday. "And we'll wait and hope for a guilty verdict."
Griffin, one of many relatives and friends of 30-year-old Courtney Griffin, has been waiting nearly two years for the justice system to do its work in his daughter's death. When Nestande was initially charged with only failing to stop and render aid after the crash, Bart Griffin pushed prosecutors to add more charges.
A conviction on the most serious of the charges could mean a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
The case went to the jury on Tuesday night and the 12 members deliberated until 10 p.m.. Jurors returned at 9 a.m. Wednesday to resume sifting through the complicated evidence presented over the past several days.
They returned to the courtroom early in the afternoon to ask the judge a routine question, and then went back to deliberate some more.
Their job is to separate the facts from the emotion, a legal analyst told KXAN.
"They've got separate charges they've got to go through each one of those and render a verdict on each one of those," said former prosecutor Mindy Montford, "And it has to be unanimous. So I do think they're going to take their time."
The jury, made up of nine men and three women, received the case around 7 p.m. on Tuesday and wrapped up deliberations three hours later without a decision. Members of the jury asked for evidence, including the video of Nestande at the Clive Bar, along with her receipts.
"I think they've got a lot to wrestle with back there I don't think three hours, by any means, to the stretch of the imagination is a long time," explained Montford. "I think we'll see them (the jury) pretty much all day today deliberating as well, I would be surprised if they got a verdict by the end of the day.
Nestande, 25, is awaiting the verdict on three charges in the hit-and-run death of Courtney Griffin
Griffin's body was found in the early morning hours in a driveway. Police said Nestande's car was found parked nearby. She was arrested that day in her office at the Capitol.
On Tuesday, she testified she had been drinking the night before but did not consider herself to be drunk.
The testimony continued for a few hours and at several moments Nestande wept and buried her face in her hands. Even though she took responsibility for the death of Griffin, a 30-year-old veterinary technician and nanny, and told jurors that she drank beer and a shot of alcohol, Montford said the testimony was essential to the defense.
"I think she definitely had to take the stand," Montford said on KXAN News Today. "I think the jury had to see that she was remorseful that she's human that she has feelings and they wanted to hear her side of the story and what she remembered seeing and why she did what she did or didn't do."
How the jury process works
The jury starts with the top charge, intoxication manslaughter. If jurors find beyond reasonable doubt Nestande was intoxicated and caused the death of Griffin because of that, then they find her guilty and the manslaughter charge and the lesser option of criminal negligent homicide are rendered moot.
If they find her not guilty, or they cannot arrive at a decision, they move to manslaughter. If they determine beyond a reasonable doubt that she was "reckless" and caused the death of Griffin, they find her guilty.
If not guilty, they move down and can consider the lesser option of criminally negligent homicide.
Nestande's lawyer, Sam Bassett, explained the difference like this to the jury:
MANSLAUGHTER: Driver knowingly ignores stoplight, tries to beat a train across the tracks and hits a person and causes the person to die.
CRIMINALLY NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE: Driver misses the stoplight, hits a person and causes death.
FAILURE TO STOP AND RENDER AID: This charge is completely separate from the others and will be considered no matter their outcome. It will determine if Nestande did not take reasonable action to help the person involved in the accident.
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg heads to court this week as a defendant in a civil trial that could oust her from office.
Late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, a light band of freezing drizzle traversed the I-35 corridor eastward. With sub-freezing temperatures, even the light precipitation created major problems.
A 10-year-old was killed while standing outside a vehicle after the child's family was involved in a fender bender, DPS said.
Austin Police confirm they have located an 82-year-old women who went missing last night.
APD is responding to a 25 vehicle accident near the 5400 block of Ed Bluestein near Thurgood Ave.
A man is dead after being hit by several vehicles in the eastbound lane of Highway 71 Saturday night.