Fort Worth, Texas — A jury took less than an hour Thursday to convict a former nurse's aide of murder for hitting a homeless man with her car, driving home with his mangled body jammed in the windshield and leaving him to die in her garage.
Chante Jawan Mallard, 27, looked down and cried silently as the judge read the verdict, which could bring a life sentence.
Later Thursday, at her sentencing hearing, Mallard tearfully apologized to Gregory Biggs' son and her own family, saying her mind had been too muddled by fear and drugs to call for help.
"I couldn't think to do the right thing," she said, adding that she feared she would be arrested.
After a night of drinking, smoking pot and taking Ecstasy, Mallard ran into Biggs, 37, with her Chevrolet Cavalier as he walked along the side of a highway in the early hours of Oct. 26, 2001. He was hit with such force that his head and shoulders went through the windshield.
"When I hit him, it was a very loud noise," Mallard testified. "All this glass started flying in the car, followed by a lot of wind. And the glass was just cutting at my skin, stinging me."
She said she briefly got out of the car to try to touch Biggs, but panicked, got back in and drove home with his leg protruding from the windshield. She said she knew he was still alive.
"I didn't know what to do," she said. "I started screaming. I just started yelling."
She said Biggs moaned and his nearly severed leg was on the dashboard. She said she pulled into her garage and lowered the door, then cried and kept apologizing to Biggs.
Prosecution witnesses said Biggs probably lived for two hours.
"She stole his life," prosecutor Richard Alpert said in closing arguments. "She stole his hope of anyone else saving his life. That's murder."