Larry Welborn of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER reports that secret Orange County (CA) Grand Jury testimony that led to Andrew Thomas Gallo being charged with three counts of second-degree murder and several other serious felonies for his role in the April 8, 2009, death of Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and two young adult passengers has been released.
The testimony comes from Gallo’s stepbrother Raymond Rivera, who claimed to the Grand Jury that he was the one responsible for Gallo driving drunk the night Adenhart was killed by the Gallo-driven vehicle in an intersection collision. (Gallo ran a red light.) Gallo, who was driving with a suspended license after a recent DUI conviction was later found to have an alcohol level over three times the legal limit on the night in question.
Rivera told the Grand Jury that he was to be Gallo’s designated driver the night of April 8, 2009, but, “when I ordered the shot, it kind of changed the way the night would unfold.”
Welborn reports that the night of drinking and driving began as Rivera and Gallo were “celebrating the arrival of a government relief check.”
More details from the previously unreleased Grand Jury documents:
• Rivera testified that the duo started drinking at about 4 p.m. on April 8, 2009 at Johnny Carino’s Italian restaurant and bar in West Covina, and continued to drink for about seven hours, consuming Newcastle, Amber Bock, Sam Adams and Arrogant Bastard beers, and at least one shot of 1800 Tequila.
• After Johnny Carino’s, the pair went to a nearby bikini bar called The Well, where they started drinking “boombahs,” described by Rivera as beer “in a very, very large glass” maybe the size of half of a pitcher.
• At one point in the testimony, Price asks Rivera, “How many those did you drink?
Rivera responds that he’s not sure, “because while I was in this spot is where my memory starts to get very hazy.”
Price replies, “Okay, I can understand why.
At another point, Rivera testified that Gallo became upset when he ordered another round of beers – a harsh brew called Arrogant Bastard – because Gallo knew he had to drive.
But Rivera said he coerced his stepbrother into drinking the beer by asking him, “Are you going to turn it down?” after he had spent some of his last money on the purchase.
• Gallo also admitted drinking several beers and some shots of a Sake-type liquor, when he was interrogated several hours after the crash, Fullerton Det. Matthew Malone testified.
“He said he was buzzed,” Malone told the grand jury. “He blanked out pretty much.”
• Neither Rivera nor Gallo could reveal how they ended up driving in Fullerton, according to the testimony.
They lived in San Gabriel and had been drinking in West Covina, according to their accounts.
Malone testified that Gallo told him “he had never been in the city of Fullerton, doesn’t know anyone in the city of Fullerton, and doesn’t know why he would be in the city of Fullerton.”
•Gallo is also charged with felony hit-and-run causing injury or death for fleeing the crash site on foot.
Rivera testified that he woke up in the passenger seat after the impact and turned to see his stepbrother unbuckling his seat belt.
Q. Did he say anything to you?
A. “…he said, “run bitch.”
The move to charge Gallo with murder, and not vehicular manslaughter, is an extraordinary one by Orange County District Attorney Susan Price:
District Attorney Susan Price has accused Gallo of three counts of second-degree murder rather than the lesser crime of vehicular manslaughter under the legal theory of implied malice: that he knew that drinking and driving was dangerous to human life – in part because of his prior drunk driving conviction – but chose to do so anyway.
The charges mean that 23-year-old Gallo, if convicted, could be sentenced to up to 50 years in prison.
Jury selection for the trial began Monday with the entire court proceeding expected to take about a month.