Trial for Nick Adenhart case set to start

SANTA ANA, Calif. -- Testimony will soon be under way in the murder trial of a man accused of driving drunk in the crash that killed Angels rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart and two of his friends.

The Orange County district attorney's office said Monday that opening statements in the second-degree murder case will begin at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in Orange County Superior Court.

The 23-year-old Andrew Gallo has pleaded not guilty to three counts of second-degree murder and a count of felony hit-and-run.

The 22-year-old Adenhart died just hours after pitching six scoreless innings in his 2009 season debut with the Los Angeles Angels.

Also killed were 20-year-old Courtney Stewart and 25-year-old Henry Pearson.

The Orange County Register recently reviewed transcripts of what was supposed to be secret grand jury proceedings in June 2009 that led to Gallo's indictment. The testimony reveals a night of heavy drinking before the deadly accident.

Gallo's stepbrother, Raymond Rivera, testified that their group started drinking at 4 p.m. local time that day and continued for seven hours. The binge included at least one shot of tequila.

According to Rivera, Gallo did become upset when his stepbrother ordered another round of beers because he knew that he had to drive. But, according to the testimony acquired by the Register, Rivera said: "Are you going to turn it down?" and told Gallo that he had spent some of his last money on the beers.

Fullerton Det. Matthew Malone testified that Gallo admitted also drinking shots of a Sake-type liquor.

"He said he was buzzed," Malone told the grand jury, according to the Register. "He blanked out pretty much."

Neither Rivera nor Gallo could account for how they got to Fullerton, Calif., where the accident happened. But Rivera did testify, according to the newspaper, that when he came to after impact, Gallo told him to flee.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.