Andrew Thomas Gallo, Accused of Murdering Angels Pitcher Nick Adenhart and 2 Others, Can Get a Fair Trial in Orange County: Judge

We told you last month that the attorney for Andrew Thomas Gallo, the 23-year-old San Gabriel resident facing murder charges in the crash that killed Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and two others last year, filed a motion to move the trial out of Orange County.

"I'm confident a fair jury can be selected to hear this matter," Superior Court Judge Richard F. Toohey said as he denied that motion today.

In memory
In memory

The Los Angeles Times has the scoop.

Gallo's attorney Jacqueline Goodman Rubio wrote in a 36-page motion that her client could not get a fair trial in Orange County due to the publicity surrounding Adenart's death.

There was the intense coverage of the accident that took Adenhart's life hours after he pitched the Angels to victory in his first Major League Baseball start.

There was the makeshift shrine of flowers, red caps, rally monkeys and handwritten notes that blossomed outside Angel Stadium after Adenhart's death.

There was the photo of Adenhart placed on the outfield fence at the stadium.

There was the first Nick Adenhart Award presentation in April at the Big A.

If those were not enough to show locals had been exposed to many facts in the case--and perhaps formed opinions--there was the worldwide spectacle after the Angels won the American League West title last year. Players were shown on national television gathered before the outfield photo, bowing their heads and touching it.

The pitcher's death "captured the hearts of every Angels fan, who felt, with good reason, that they had lost a friend as well as a hero in Nick Adenhart," Rubio wrote in her motion. "It also inspired much hate for Andrew Gallo."

Toohey did leave the defense a sliver of hope, saying he will reconsider the motion if he has trouble seating a jury.

Hours after pitching six shutout innings for the Angels 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 24-year-old Jonathan Wilhite, a former Cal State Fullerton Titans catcher.

Fullerton Police say a minvan driven by Gallo ran a red light and broadsided the Eclipse, killing everyone inside except Wilhite, who suffered what doctors called internal decapitation. He is still recovering from his injuries.

Gallo--who police say had a blood alcohol level that was more than three times the legal limit and who prosecutors say had a prior DUI conviction--is charged with three counts of second-degree murder, driving under the influence, hit-and-run and driving with a suspended license.

Conviction on those charges could get Gallo 50 years to life in state prison.

He has pleaded not guilty.


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