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Guilty Verdict in Nick Adenhart DUI Death

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By Laura Strachan, Esq. on September 28, 2010 7:14 AM

A guilty verdict has been reached in the Nick Adenhart DUI death case that shocked the sports world last year. 23 year-old Andrew Gallo was found guilty of the murder of Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, and his two friends Courtney Stewart and Henry Pearson, after a two week trial in Santa Ana, California. At the time of the accident, Gallo's blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit.

The Associated Press reports on the conviction:

"Prosecutors said they charged the case as second-degree murder instead of the lesser charge of manslaughter because Gallo had a previous DUI conviction, had specific knowledge of the dangers of drinking and driving and had signed a court form from the earlier case saying he understood he could be charged with murder if he drove drunk again and killed someone."

Failing to listen to the warnings issued in his previous driving under the influence conviction has some serious consequences for Gallo. Gallo had been drinking at three different bars with his stepbrother before running into the car driven by Stewart. Because of the difficulty in proving the malice element of murder, drunk driving deaths are more commonly prosecuted as manslaughter. Andrew Gallo's conviction for murder represents a departure for the norm, and hopefully serves as an example to potential offenders.

Facing fifty years to life, Gallo is scheduled for sentencing in December. In addition to second degree murder, Gallo was also found guilty of drunk driving, hit and run, and driving under the influence. Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas sums of the verdict, "While we can't do justice, we can do the best we can." The tragic accident came hours after Nick Adenhart pitched six scoreless innings in his season debut with the Angels.

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