Defense rests in drunken-driving murder trial over crash that killed Angels pitcher Adenhart

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Defense rests in trial over Angels pitcher death

SANTA ANA, Calif. — The defense rested Tuesday in the case of a man charged with murder in the drunken-driving crash that killed Los Angeles pitcher Nick Adenhart and two others.

Defense attorney Jacqueline Goodman wrapped up her case after two days of witnesses and a videotaped interview with 23-year-old defendant Andrew Gallo, who sobbed and appeared shocked in the video of police telling him about the fatal collision. Gallo rubbed his eyes as the jury watched the interview done soon after the April 9, 2009, collision, but he was not called to the stand.

Prosecutor Susan Price called several rebuttal witnesses late Tuesday before court adjourned. After a day off, closing arguments will begin Thursday.

Adenhart, 22, died just hours after pitching six scoreless innings at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. Two of his companions, Courtney Stewart, 20, and Henry Pearson, 25, also died. Another friend was critically injured.

Gallo sped through a red light in a minivan and smashed into the side of the sedan carrying the four victims, police said.

He pleaded not guilty after he was indicted on three counts of second-degree murder, a felony count of fleeing the scene of a traffic collision involving death or permanent injury, and two other felonies involving driving under the influence.

Prosecutors said they took the unusual step of charging Gallo with second-degree murder — and not the lesser charge of manslaughter — in part because he had a prior drunken-driving conviction and because he was driving on a suspended license.

Goodman has said Andrew Gallo drove while intoxicated but did not intend to kill anyone and thought his stepbrother was his designated driver.

He could face a maximum sentence of 54 years and eight months to life in state prison if convicted of all counts.

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