SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) –A construction worker who was on probation for felony drunken driving when he ran a red light and killed rookie Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and two other people was sentenced Wednesday to 51 years to life in prison.
A judge sentenced Andrew Gallo, 24, amid sobbing from the victims’ family and friends who earlier heard him apologize for the 2009 crash.
Prosecutors said Gallo’s blood-alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit when he blew through a red light at an Orange County intersection on April 9, 2009, and T-boned the car carrying Adenhart and three friends.
Also killed in the crash were 20-year-old Courtney Stewart and 25-year-old Henry Pearson. A fourth passenger, Jon Wilhite, was severely injured.
Before sentencing. Stewart’s sobbing father, Chris Stewart, told the judge each day that goes by “is one more day I’m without my daughter.”
Gallo was frequently moved to tears by the statements from family members of victims. He acknowledged before sentencing that he had taken the three lives and ruined his own after getting behind the wheel after hours of drinking.
He also said he expected to spend the rest of his life in prison.
“When I die, I have to look God in the face and ask him for forgiveness and mercy,” he said.
Gallo was convicted in September of three counts of second-degree murder and single counts of drunken driving, hit-and-run driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol and causing great bodily injury.
He was sentenced by Judge Richard Toohey to 15 years to life on each of the murder counts, with the additional six years added for the other crimes. Prosecutors had sought the terms of 15 years to life.
“His conduct showed a complete disregard for the safety of others,” Deputy District Attorney Susan Price said in court papers filed before the hearing.
Prosecutors said Gallo drank beer and shots at three different bars with his stepbrother before driving off in the family’s minivan. Jurors saw a videotaped interview in which he told police he didn’t remember driving that night and apologized to the victims’ families.
Gallo’s attorney had called for one sentence of 15 years to life, saying her client never intended to hurt anyone.
Attorney Jacqueline Goodman said in court papers that Gallo’s stepbrother was supposed to be the designated driver that night, but that Gallo took the wheel when his stepbrother became too drunk to drive.
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