- The Washington Times - Monday, June 23, 2003

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Jurors saw pictures yesterday of the twisted, bruised and bloody body of a homeless man as a former nurse’s aide went on trial on charges 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 attorneys in the murder case both said Chante Jawan Mallard, 27, smoked pot, 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 doesn’t dispute what happened, but says it was an accident, not murder.

Defense attorney Jeff Kearney said 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 possible. You can’t imagine.”

Mallard faces life in prison if convicted. She pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, tampering with evidence, before attorneys began opening statements on the murder charge. The tampering charge could lead to a sentence of two to 10 years.

When the images of Mr. Biggs’ mangled body were shown on a large screen in the courtroom yesterday, Mallard looked down, and some jurors looked away. Mr. Biggs’ relatives were not in the room.

Although Mallard had taken drugs, 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 Mallard stopped briefly and tried to get Mr. Biggs off her car, but when she couldn’t, she drove about a mile to her home. Mallard then called one of her friends to pick her up, Miss Jack said.

The friend later told Mallard to call 911, she said.

“Chante refused because she didn’t want her parents to know what she’d done and didn’t want to go to jail,” Miss Jack said.

Mr. Kearney said that after Mallard pulled into her garage and lowered the door, she sat in the car and cried, repeatedly apologizing to Mr. Biggs, who was moaning.

When the friend arrived at the house, Mallard was hysterical and “was blabbing, ‘Lord, I’m sorry. What do I do? Lord, I’m sorry. It was an accident. What do I do?’” Mr. Kearney said.

Mr. Biggs, 37, a former bricklayer who had been living in a homeless shelter, was found dead the next day, his body dumped in a park.

Two of Mallard’s friends, Clete Deneal Jackson and Herbert Tyrone Cleveland, have pleaded guilty to dumping the body to help Mallard.

Jackson received a 10-year sentence for tampering with evidence; Cleveland, nine years. As part of plea agreements, they were to testify at her trial.

Tarrant County Medical Examiner Nizam Peerwani has said Mr. Biggs, whose left leg was nearly severed, could have survived if he had received medical attention.

Authorities had no leads in Mr. Biggs’ death until four months after the body’s discovery, when a tipster said Mallard talked about the incident at a party.

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