September 28, 2010 by Post Team
It was the second DUI conviction of Andrew Gallo, 23, who was white bead rosary and occasionally glanced at the jurors as they receive the verdict.
As he was taken away in handcuffs, Gallo looked over his shoulder sobbing relatives of the victims gathered in the courtroom of Orange County.
“What this case has shown is that the accelerator, the accelerator pedal of a car in the wrong hands is as dangerous as the trigger of a gun,” said Nigel Pearson, the father of 25-year-old victim Henry Pearson, out of court. “In the wrong hands, can devastate the lives of many, many.”
Gallo was convicted of three counts of second-degree murder and one count of drunken driving, hit and run driving and driving under the influence of alcohol and causing serious bodily injury.
He faces 50 years to life in state prison on his sentence scheduled for 10 December.
His lawyer said he would appeal Goodman Jacqueline Gallo.
“I think it’s tragic,” he told reporters. “I think there has been a miscarriage of justice.” Previously said his client had no intention of killing anyone.
Prosecutors said they charged the case as a second-degree murder rather than a lesser charge of manslaughter for Gallo had a prior conviction for DUI, had specific knowledge of the dangers of drinking and driving from their own experience, and has signed a court form saying the previous case that he understood he could be charged with murder if they drove drunk and killed someone again.
To win a murder conviction, prosecutors had to prove Gallo acted with implied malice, intentionally drove drunk, acted with a conscious disregard for human life, and knew from personal experience that could kill someone.
Adenhart, 22, died a few hours after pitching six scoreless innings in his season debut. Courtney Pearson and Stewart, 20, also died in the collision of April 9, 2009, in Fullerton. Jon Wilhite passengers seriously injured.
The district attorney of Orange County, Tony Rackauckas said it was the murder conviction of 11 related DUI in the county since 2008.
“People are dying here,” said Rackauckas journalists. “We want to get the message out there, as well as we can people be prosecuted for murder when they engage in such conduct.”
Jurors, who began deliberations on Thursday, said he had an intense debate and were well aware that Gallo had not only ruined the lives of the families of the victims, but also yours.
“It was exciting,” said Beth Smith, a juror after leaving the courtroom. “I think many of us lose sleep over it.”
His eyes filled with tears, Stewart’s mother said he was relieved to finally have a verdict.
“It will not bring Courtney back, but I know she is looking down on us, and she is happy,” said Carrie Stewart, Dixon, wearing a pink bracelet and white with the name of his daughter. “It was justice for children – and all our families.”
Angels pitcher Jered Weaver said he learned of the verdicts in a text message from a team official.
“Obviously we’re pleased to see that the guy has it coming for him, but that’s about all I can say. It is hoped to put a little closure to what the families had to deal with,” Weaver said.
Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said: “There is not joy involved, but I think it is a closure of a number of families who have been simply going through the worst nightmare for a family.”
“Nothing that happened today is ever going to bring Nick, Henry and Courtney, or remove the tragedy in the life of a child who survived, Jon Wilhite. But I think all of us inch toward a sense of peace, and we’re just going to move forward, “he said.
Prosecutors argued during the trial of two weeks that Gallo, whose blood alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit, they spent hours drinking beers and photos with his brother, three different bars before running a red light and T-boned the car driven by Stewart.
Attorney Susan Price told the jury that Gallo had been warned repeatedly by friends, family and court officials about the dangers of drinking and driving, but his arrogance and the need to party prevented him from learning the lesson.
Goodman said the district attorney’s office was overwhelmed by the burden of murder Gallo.
She said her client believes that his brother was his designated driver and was only after his brother was too drunk and asked him to take the helm. At that time, he argued, Gallo was too drunk to realize the consequences of drunk driving.
During the trial, prosecutors played a videotaped interview in which Gallo told police he did not remember driving and apologized to the families of the victims.
Gillian Flaccus Associated Press contributed to this report.
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