Lawyers make final arguments in Adenhart trial

Jurors yesterday heard closing statements in the murder trial of the man accused of driving drunk and causing the crash that killed Angel pitcher Nick Adenhart. The Santa Ana jury will make its decision soon. Prosecutors might have made a bigger decision long ago.

It was when they decided to charge 23-year-old Andrew Gallo not with vehicular manslaughter, but with second-degree murder. The penalty is far tougher. So is the prosecution’s job of convincing the jury that the drunk driver intended to kill someone.

To that end, prosecutor Susan Price reminded the jury that Gallo was on probation for drunken driving when he crashed his van into the car that carried Nick Adenhart; the Angel pitcher and two friends were killed. Price noted that Gallo had signed legal papers that warned him if he drove drunk again and killed someone, he could be charged with murder.

Defense attorney Jacqueline Goodman told jurors Gallo did not intend to kill anyone. She said his brother-in-law was to be the “designated driver” – but he got drunk instead. She said “common sense” says Gallo is no murderer.

The legal stars might not be aligned for Gallo. As jurors in his trial heard closing statements, a Fullerton jury in a different drunken driving case handed down a conviction for second-degree murder.

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