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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Guilty Verdict in Windshield Murder Case

Aired June 26, 2003 - 19:11   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: In other court news, a jury in Fort Worth, Texas, will now decide whether Chante Mallard should spend the rest of her life in prison for hitting a homeless man in her car and leaving him stuck in her windshield to bleed the death.
The jury quickly convicted Mallard today in a case that had a lot of people wondering, how could somebody do this?

CNN's Ed Lavandera was there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHANTE MALLARD, HIT HOMELESS MAN: Because I had gone around the curb. I hit Mr. Biggs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. And when you hit Mr. Biggs, did you see him before you hit him that you remember?

MALLARD: No, sir, I did not.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At that moment on October 26, 2001, Chante Mallard's life would never be the same.

She told the story of how a night of drinking and doing drugs ended in the death of a 37-year-old homeless man. Mallard took the witness stand just hours after a Fort Worth jury found her guilty of murder. It was tearful testimony before a packed courtroom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you startled? Were you scared?

MALLARD: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What were you feeling?

MALLARD: I was scared. And I didn't know what to do. And I was asking God to tell me what to do. I didn't know what to do.

LAVANDERA: it took the jury less than an hour to find Mallard guilty of murder. Prosecutors convinced the jury that Greg Biggs' life could have been saved.

CHRISTY JACK, PROSECUTOR: She took him home to her garage. And concealed him from anyone who would ever render aid. She guaranteed his death.

LAVANDERA: Defense attorneys set out to answer the most nagging question of all. That is, why didn't Mallard call for medical help, even after calling friends to help her figure out what to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why didn't you?

MALLARD: I was -- I couldn't think to do the right thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did it ever enter your mind to go to the fire station, to go to convenience store, to go to the pay phone?

MALLARD: No, sir. It didn't.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAVANDERA: Now, that part where you hear her say several times in this piece, I did not know what to do, must have heard that about a dozen times from Chante Mallard.

Now the question is whether or not the jury will buy that and what they'll do with that when it comes time to sentencing her to prison -- Anderson.

COOPER: Ed, what are the possibilities for sentencing? I mean, how bad of a sentence could she get?

LAVANDERA: Well, the murder charge here in Texas is anywhere between five years and 99 years or life in prison. But also, there's also a stipulation that if it's the first time committed a felony like this, you're also eligible for parole in this situation. So, there's a wide range of possibilities that might happen in this case.

COOPER: All right. But no death penalty?

LAVANDERA: No. No death penalty in this case. You're right.

COOPER: All right. Ed Lavandera, thanks very much.

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