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Andrew Gallo, Driver in Adenhart Crash, DUI at Time of Crash; Faces Murder Charges

By Javier Lavagnino, Esq. on April 10, 2009 11:20 AM

Updating yesterday's tragic news on the death of L.A. Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart in a hit and run crash, it turns out that the driver of the minivan that ran a red light, 22-year-old Andrew Thomas Gallo, may have fled from the scene of the accident because he knew he was in a world of legal hurt. The AP reports that Gallo: 1) was driving on a suspended license (the result of a previous DUI conviction); and 2) was "substantially over" the legal limit at the time of the crash.

As a result, Gallo was booked for murder and manslaughter charges and is currently in jail without bail. In California, a DUI car accident that results in the death of an individual can result in very serious charges, but murder charges are particularly tough to establish because of the degree of "malice" that must be shown. For purposes of second degree murder charges in a DUI case, prosecutors must show implied malice or a conscious disregard for human life. Unfortunately for Gallo, the existence of a prior DUI conviction is precisely the sort of evidence prosecutors use to establish such a "conscious disregard".

Furthermore, courts in California often make people convicted of a DUI offense sign papers acknowledging that they understand the dangers of driving under the influence and may also make them take courses educating them on those dangers. Such evidence can also come in handy for prosecutors when establishing a defendant's culpable state of mind for second degree murder.

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