Thursday, June 11, 2009

Drunk Driver Pleads Not Guilty to Murder of Angels Pitcher Nick Adenhart and Friends

“Not guilty”.

At least that’s how Andrew Thomas Gallo pleaded at his arraignment when the 22-year old was charged with three counts of murder following the alcohol-related crash.

Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, 22, Courtney Stewart, 20, a college student, and Henry Pearson, 25, a law student were killed in the car crash when Gallo’s minivan ran a red light and broadsided the Mitsubishi Eclipse Stewart was driving.

The fourth passenger in the car, Jon Wilhite, 24 was seriously injured. The former standout player on the Cal State Fullerton Titan baseball team was hospitalized for weeks for “internal decapitation,” a rare and often fatal separation of the skull from the spinal column.

Defense attorney Randall Longwith even said that his client did not have any malice at the time of the crash and that his client cannot get a fair trial in Orange County and will file a motion for change of venue.

Longwith also revealed that there have been death threats against Gallo and himself via the Internet, phone and in a letter. According to him, his client is frequently in tears during their meetings and was crying when he came into court. Longwith said that Gallo is “pretty much in shock”.

Pretty much in shock? Tsk. The part about Gallo crying was obviously a play for sympathy. Tsk tsk. Too bad there was no mention of remorse or the humility to admit mistake and responsibility for the destroying the lives and futures of three young people.

Not guilty? No intent or malice at the time of the crash? In 2006, Gallo pleaded guilty in 2006 to driving under the influence and wrote on the guilty plea form, “I understand that if I continue to drink and drive it may result in death or serious bodily injury to another person.”

Gallo had a choice that night. He cannot be a victim if he knowingly got behind the wheel after drinking. Perhaps his attorney can say Gallo was forced to “drive” but then again, isn’t that what taxis are for?

Drinking and driving is obviously a bad choice. But drinking and driving, after a previous conviction, without a license and killing people and fleeing the scene is so unfair to the people who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and to the families who will have lost their loved ones.

Gallo and his attorney hardly have the right to use the word, “unfair”.