The 4th District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana has upheld the conviction and sentence of Andrew Thomas Gallo, the San Gabriel drunken driver who was sent to prison for 51 years to life for causing the crash that took the lives of Angels rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart and two others.
A panel of three justices disagreed with the Gallo defense's contention that Orange County Superior Court Judge Richard Toohey was biased against the defendant, denying the 22-year-old his rights to due process and a fair trial.
Justices William Rylaarsdam, Kathleen E. O'Leary and William Bedsworth countered Gallo received a fair trial and Toohey was not guilty of judicial misconduct in a 21-page ruling.
The defense had tried before the trial started to get the proceedings moved out of Orange County, claiming Gallo could not get a fair defense here. Toohey struck down the motion.
Hours after pitching six shutout innings for the Angels at the Big A in his first major league start on April 9, 2009, Adenhart was
riding in a Mitsubishi Eclipse driven by 20-year-old former Cal State
Fullerton cheerleader Courtney Stewart. Also along for the ride to the In-Cahoots country and western dance club were 25-year-old Henry Pearson and Jonathan Wilhite,
a then-24-year-old former Cal State Fullerton Titans catcher.
Gallo, who'd spent most of the same day drinking, drove a minivan despite having a prior DUI conviction and having been told through his punishment the alcohol and driving don't mix. He would run a red light and
broadside the Eclipse, killing everyone inside except Wilhite, who suffered what
doctors called internal decapitation. His injuries are with him the rest of his life.
By the time he could be tested, Gallo showed a blood alcohol level
that was more than three
times the legal limit. He would plead not guilty to three counts of second-degree murder,
driving under the
influence, hit-and-run and driving with a suspended license. A jury convicted him in 2010.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.