[Hpn] HOMELESS MAN'S MURDER TRIAL IS VERY GRAPHIC
Tue, 24 Jun 2003 07:31:51 -0400
June 24, 2003
Murder Trial Starts in Death of Man Stuck in Windshield
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
FORT WORTH, June 23 (AP) - Jurors saw pictures of the twisted, bruised and
bloody body of a homeless man today as a former nurse's aide went on trial
on charges that she hit him with her car, drove home with his body lodged in
the windshield and left him to die in her garage.
Prosecutors and defense lawyers in the murder case both said the woman,
Chante J. Mallard, 27, smoked marijuana, took Ecstasy and drank heavily in
the hours before she hit Gregory Biggs on a highway in the early hours of
Oct. 26, 2001. The defense says it was an accident.
Ms. Mallard's lawyer, Jeff Kearney, said Ms. Mallard was just one exit from
her home, so she kept driving with "a body entirely in her car, the head in
the floorboard, legs going in directions that no one thought humanly
Ms. Mallard faces life in prison if convicted. She pleaded guilty to a
lesser charge, tampering with evidence, before opening statements began on
the murder charge.
When the images of Mr. Biggs's mangled body were shown on a large screen in
the courtroom today, Ms. Mallard looked down, and some jurors looked away.
Mr. Biggs's relatives were not in the room when the photos were displayed.
Although Ms. Mallard had taken drugs, the prosecutor, Christy Jack, said she
could have stopped at a nearby fire or police station or called an ambulance
after she hit Mr. Biggs. She said Ms. Mallard stopped briefly and tried to
get Mr. Biggs off her car, but when she could not, she drove about a mile to
her home and called a friend to pick her up. The friend later told Ms.
Mallard to call 911, the prosecutor said.
"Chante refused because she didn't want her parents to know what she'd done
and didn't want to go to jail," Ms. Jack said.
Mr. Kearney said that after his client pulled into her garage and lowered
the door, she sat in the car and cried, repeatedly apologizing to Mr. Biggs,
who was moaning.
Mr. Biggs, 37, was found dead the next day, his body dumped in a park.
Two of Ms. Mallard's friends, Clete Deneal Jackson and Herbert Tyrone
Cleveland, have pleaded guilty to dumping the body.
Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company