SANTA ANA — The driver that killed Angels’ baseball pitcher Nick Adenhart and two others in Fullerton was found guilty of second-degree murder Monday by an Orange County jury.
Andrew Thomas Gallo of Riverside was convicted for the 2009 death of Adenhart, who had pitched six scoreless innings for the Angels only a few hours before his death on April 9.
The incident shocked baseball fans and non-fans alike when Adenhart and his two acquaintances — Courtney Stewart, a student and former cheerleader at Cal State Fullerton, and Henry Pearson, a law school student — were killed.
According to police reports and court testimony, Gallo had been convicted of driving under the influence three years before the crash. He was still on probation when the two-car collision occurred.
Gallo, who was 22 on the night of the crash, could serve a sentence of 55 years to life in prison.
He was found guilty of three counts of second-degree murder, felony DUI and felony hit-and-run. Gallo’s blood alcohol level, according to reports, was 0.19 percent, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08.
Two others in the crash — Jon Wilhite of Manhattan Beach and Gallo’s step-brother, Ray Rivera — survived.
Jacqueline Goodman, Gallo’s attorney, tried to show jurors that her client had twice tried to overcome his alcohol addiction. In addition, she said that Rivera, Gallo’s designated driver, was the one who pushed him to drink. In fact, Goodman attempted to claim that it was Rivera driving, and that the two men were both so intoxicated that no one could recall.
Prosecutor Susan Price, an Orange County deputy district attorney, focused the jury’s attention on Gallo’s prior conviction, and the constant warnings he had received from family and friends. During the trial, Price showed jurors video of Gallo and Rivera drinking heavily at a bar in West Covina before the crash.