Monday, September 27, 2010

Gallo Guilty On Murder Charge

A jury has convicted a drunken driver of murder Monday in the deaths of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, as well as Courtney Stewart and Henry Pearson. Passenger Jon Wilhite was severely injured when the impact separated his spine from his skull.

Andrew Gallo, 23, was found guilty on three counts of second-degree murder and single counts of drunken driving, hit-and-run driving, and and driving under the influence of alcohol and causing great bodily injury. Gallo faces 50 years to life in state prison at his scheduled sentencing in December.

Prosecutors charged Gallo with murder rather than manslaughter (a lesser charge) as Gallo had a previous DUI conviction, had specific knowledge of the dangers of drinking and driving from his own experience and signed a court form from the earlier case saying he understood he could be charged with murder if he drove drunk again and killed someone.

To succeed, prosecutors had to show Gallo intentionally drove drunk, acted with a conscious disregard for human life and knew from his personal experience that he could kill someone.

Prosecutors had alleged in the two-week trial that Gallo, whose blood-alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit, spent hours drinking beers and shots with his stepbrother at three different bars before running a red light and T-boning the car.

Adenhart died just hours after pitching six scoreless innings in his season debut. He was 22 years old.

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