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Trial in death of Angels' Nick Adenhart gets underway

September 14, 2010 |  9:04 am

Gallo The trial of a man accused of killing Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and two friends in a drunk-driving crash is set to get underway Tuesday with opening statements.

Andrew Thomas Gallo, 22, is charged with three counts of murder and individual counts of driving under the influence, hit-and-run and driving with a suspended license.

According to prosecutors, Gallo had a blood-alcohol level of at least 0.19% -- more than twice the legal limit -- when he ran a red light at a Fullerton intersection in the early morning of April 9, 2009, and crashed into a car driven by Courtney Stewart. Adenhart

Stewart, 20, Adenhart, 22, and Henry Pearson, 25, were killed. A fourth passenger, Jon Wilhite, 25, was critically injured and has made a slow recovery.

The crash occurred just hours after Adenhart made his first start of the season for the Angels, throwing six scoreless innings.

Although Adenhart was a little-known rookie pitcher in life, the story of his death resonated strongly with both baseball fans and those who never followed the game.

A massive shrine blossomed for months outside Angel Stadium, the team created a pitching award in his honor and artists paid tribute with their work.

Because of the publicity surrounding Adenhart's death, Gallo’s attorney petitioned several times to get the trial moved out of Orange County. She argued that it was impossible for her client to get a fair trial there.

Superior Court Judge Richard Toohey repeatedly rejected the arguments, saying he was confident a fair jury would be found.

-- Paloma Esquivel in Santa Ana

Upper photo: Andrew Thomas Gallo. Credit: Al Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Lower photo: Nick Adenhart. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press