Family Finds No Justice In Daughter's Death - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/8/06-Jacksonville

Family Finds No Justice In Daughter's Death

  "You get up every morning she's the first thing you think of. She's the last thing you think of when you go to sleep at night," says Josie Hester about her daughter, Jennifer. It was February 12, 2005 when the Hester family received the devastating news that Jennifer was killed in the parking lot of her apartment complex.
  "I immediately knew that it was bad. And I didn't want to hear it. I asked them not to tell me anything that was bad," says Josie recalling the night police came to her house. It was difficult then to get an explanation of how this could happen. A year later, with no arrests, the questions remain.
  "So what you're telling me was the truck ran over my sister but there was no one behind the wheel. That makes no sense to me," says Jennifer's sister, Dana.
  Cherokee County District Attorney Elmer Beckworth says evidence shows Jennifer was lying in the parking lot, likely passed out from a night of drinking. That's when a Ford pick-up drove around to park, and in the process ran over her. Because the driver denies running over Jennifer, prosecutors say they're unable to prove a crime was committed beyond a reasonable doubt.
  "[The driver] did say he was behind the wheel of that truck?," asks KLTV 7 Reporter Christine Nelson.
  "Yes," replies Beckworth.
  "And that wouldn't place him at the scene?," asks Nelson.
  "That would place him at the scene but still wouldn't prove that he knew he had ran over someone in the parking lot," says Beckworth. The DA adds, "There's absolutely no evidence to show that he was reckless and criminally negligent because she was laying there in the parking lot."
  While the family struggles to find justice, they have an equally tough task of explaining what happened to Jennifer to her baby boy. "I told him one day his mommy was in heaven. He told me he wanted me to take him to heaven to see his mommy," says Josie crying.
  Until then, Jennifer's smiling face in her pictures is a piece of heaven on earth. Reminders to make sure her death is not in vain.
  The Hester family says they plan to file a civil suit against the driver of the pick- up and the apartment complex. Last May, a grand jury determined there was insufficient evidence to indict the driver for Jennifer's death.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com

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