Orange County Superior Court Judge Richard Toohey on Friday rejected a motion to dismiss charges against 23-year-old Andrew Gallo and also turned down a request to reduce them to gross vehicular manslaughter.
Gallo's attorney, Jacqueline Goodman, argued that Gallo had a designated driver and never intended to get behind the wheel, saying that negates the "implied malice" necessary by law for a second-degree murder charge.
Prosecutors said Gallo was driving with a blood-alcohol content three times the legal limit when he ran a red light and collided with a car, killing 22-year-old Adenhart, Frances Stewart, 20, and Henry Pearson, 25. Jon Wilhite, 24, of Manhattan Beach, survived, but his skull had to be reattached to his spine.
Gallo has pleaded not guilty. He could face more than 50 years in prison if convicted.