Trial Begins for Man Accused of Killing Angels Pitcher in DUI Crash

By: GILLIAN FLACCUS - Associated Press Writer
By: GILLIAN FLACCUS - Associated Press Writer

The attorney for a man accused of driving drunk and causing a crash that killed Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and two other people acknowledges her client was intoxicated but says he isn't a killer.

Attorney Jacqueline Goodman said Tuesday in her opening statement to an Orange County jury that 23-year-old Andrew Gallo relied on his stepbrother to be his designated driver the evening of the crash. Goodman said Gallo did not act with conscious disregard for human life, despite having a blood-alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit.

Gallo has pleaded not guilty to three counts of second-degree murder and a count of felony hit-and-run in the deaths of Adenhart and his two friends, 20-year-old Courtney Stewart and 25-year-old Henry Pearson.

Adenhart, who was 22, died just hours after pitching six scoreless innings in his 2009 season debut with the Angels.

Authorities say Gallo had a blood-alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit and was driving 65 mph on a residential street when his minivan ran a red light and struck the car. They say he then fled on foot.

Goodman contends the prosecution should have brought a manslaughter case, not murder charges.

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