Monday, September 20, 2010
Nick Adenhart jury sees interview
SANTA ANA, Calif. -- A man charged with murder in a drunken-driving crash appeared shocked in a videotaped interview when police told him about the collision that killed Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and two others.
"I did a horrible thing," defendant Andrew Gallo said as he sobbed in the recording played Monday during the trial in Orange County.
Gallo, 23, also rubbed his eyes as the jury watched the interview done soon after the April 9, 2009, collision.
Adenhart, 22, died just hours after pitching six scoreless innings at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. Two of his companions, Courtney Stewart, 20, and Henry Pearson, 25, also died. Another friend was critically injured.
Gallo sped through a red light in a minivan and smashed into the side of the sedan carrying the four victims, authorities said.
In previously played segments of the interview, Gallo described a night of drinking beer and shots of sake with his stepbrother then claimed surprise that he had been driving, explaining his license was suspended.
"It's a big blur, I don't even know how we got there ... I don't remember how the accident happened," Gallo said in the footage shown Monday.
Gallo was seen sitting in a corner of a small room, rubbing his shoulder and sipping from a cup of water between questions. Investigators asked if he wanted them to relay a message to the victims' families.
"I'm sorry..." Gallo said, his voice cracking. "I didn't mean for anybody to get hurt."
Gallo pleaded not guilty after he was indicted on three counts of second-degree murder, a felony count of fleeing the scene of a traffic collision involving death or permanent injury, and two other felonies involving driving under the influence.
He could face a maximum sentence of 54 years and eight months to life in state prison if convicted of all counts.
Defense attorney Jacqueline Goodman began calling witnesses on Monday, including Gallo's father and an accident reconstruction expert.
Goodman has said Andrew Gallo drove while intoxicated but did not intend to kill anyone and thought his stepbrother was his designated driver.
Fighting back tears, the defendant's stepmother Lilia Gallo testified that she lent her minivan to her son Raymond Rivera that night so he could apply for a job. She said she often lent the car to Rivera but never to Gallo.
"It's like an unwritten law, we knew he had problems in the past," she told jurors.
Prosecutors said they took the unusual step of charging Gallo with second-degree murder -- and not the lesser charge of manslaughter -- in part because he had a prior drunken-driving conviction and because he was driving on a suspended license.
"It's a big blur, I don't even know how we got there ... I don't remember how the accident happened," defendant Andrew Gallo said in the footage shown Monday.