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Closing arguments set in Adenhart trial

September 22, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Closing arguments are expected Thursday in the trial of the man accused of killing Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and two of his friends in a drunk driving crash.The defense for 23-year-old Andrew Gallo rested its case Tuesday without calling him to the witness stand. Gallo, a convicted drunk driver, is charged with three counts of second-degree murder, among other crimes, for the crash in Fullerton that killed Adenhart, his girlfriend Courtney Frances Stewart, who was 20, and friend Henry Pearson, 25. Jon Wilhite of Manhattan Beach survived.

Gallo's blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.19 percent two hours after the collision, but prosecutors say it was closer to 0.22 percent, nearly three times the legal limit, at the time of the crash.

Gallo's minivan was going 66 mph in a 35-mph zone eastbound on Orangethorpe Avenue when it broadsided the Mitsubishi Eclipse carrying the four victims on Lemon Street about 12:20 a.m., according to the testimony of Wes Vandiver, an investigator with the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

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.

Gallo faces a maximum sentence of 54 years and eight months to life in state prison if convicted of all counts.

The 22-year-old Adenhart died just hours after pitching six scoreless innings in his 2009 season debut with the Los Angeles Angels.


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