Monday, September 27, 2010

Jury: Man guilty of murder in drunk driving deaths

SANTA ANA, Calif. - A jury convicted a drunken driver of murder Monday in the deaths of promising rookie Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and two of his friends.

Andrew Gallo, 23, held white rosary beads and occasionally looked up at jurors as they returned convictions on three counts of second-degree murder and single counts of drunken driving, hit-and-run driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol and causing great bodily injury.

Gallo, who had a previous DUI conviction, was led away in handcuffs and briefly looked over his shoulder at the victims' sobbing relatives.
Read the rest here.

Good verdict. I just wish more people were prosecuted in this manner. Sadly I suspect that the publicity surrounding the rookie pitcher's tragic death had a lot to do with it.

1 comment:

Han said...

I would be interested to know what exactly the testimony was regarding Gallo's "arrogance and need to party," because as it is I am having a bit of trouble seeing second degree murder (as opposed to the lesser gross vehicular manslaughter or even lesser vehicular manslaughter).

It appears that the People went with the "implied malice" version of California murder, what we here in Colorado would characterize as "Extreme Indifference" 1st degree murder. From my read of the California Penal Code, "implied malice" more or less does away with the culpable mental state of intent and replaces it with "circumstances showing an abandoned or malignant heart." If Gallo had only a single prior DUI conviction, I am having difficulty seeing how the prosecution got the jury to the "abandoned or malignant heart" level as opposed to the "fatal screw-up" theory which the defense must have advanced to try to convince the jury to convict on the lesser included manslaughter offense. This is why I am a bit surprised that Gallo appears to only have one prior DUI conviction. If he had 4 priors, I could see a jury coming to the conclusion that he just doesn't care about what could happen to anybody else, whereas with only one, I would think that defense counsel should have been able to argue successfully to the jury that her client fell off of the wagon and made a really bad choice with tragic consequences, resulting in manslaughter--but not murder.

I could see the reasoning in the verdict if prior to going out that night, Gallo had made statements to the effect of "I don't care who is out there, I need to party and everyone better get out of my way" or perhaps testimony that every other day for the past month Gallo had went out drinking and drove home drunk (but didn't get caught) and that his family warned him about what could happen, but in the absence of such evidence, I cannot see how the jury came down with Murder 2 with implied malice based upon a single prior DUI.