Man pleads not guilty in Nick Adenhart’s death


SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — The man charged with killing Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and two
others in a drunken-driving crash pleaded not guilty Monday to three counts of murder as relatives of
the victims looked on.
Andrew Thomas Gallo also pleaded not guilty through his attorney to three other felony charges and one
misdemeanor in connection with the April 9 collision that occurred just hours after Adenhart pitched six
scoreless innings in his season debut.
The 22-year-old Gallo watched from inside a security enclosure as defense attorney Randall Longwith
entered the pleas before an Orange County Superior Court judge. About 15 members of Gallo’s family were
in court.
While waiting for Gallo to appear, 24-year-old Jon Wilhite, the lone member of Adenhart’s group to
survive, began to sob. Wilhite, who had critical injuries in the wreck, was embraced by friends and
Longwith said later in an interview that he will seek a change of venue because he believes Gallo cannot
get a fair trial in Orange County, home of the Angels and the California State University, Fullerton,
baseball team for which Wilhite had played.
The attorney noted that in another courthouse where Gallo made a previous appearance, an Angels poster
was in the hallway leading to the courtroom.
Longwith also said there have been death threats against Gallo and himself via the Internet, phone and in
a letter.
"I think people are venting and it’s just evidence of the passion people have in this case. I don’t
think it’s a true threat," he said, noting he had not brought it to the district attorney’s
Deputy District Attorney Susan Price disputed the need for moving the case.
"We don’t believe that the defendant will be any more prejudiced in this county than in any other
county," said Price, who was flanked by the victims’ family members at a brief news conference
outside the courtroom.
All the families declined to comment after the hearing. Some family members wore T-shirts and large
buttons emblazoned with photos of their children.
Price said Gallo faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 45 years to life in prison if convicted of the
three second-degree murder charges. If convicted of all charges, the minimum would be 54 years and eight
months to life.
Police have said Gallo had nearly triple the legal blood-alcohol level when the minivan he was driving
ran a red light in Fullerton and broadsided the silver Mitsubishi Eclipse carrying Adenhart and three
friends to a dance club to celebrate his success.
The impact spun around both vehicles, and one then struck another car but that driver was not hurt,
police said.
Gallo fled on foot and was captured about 30 minutes later, police said.
The 22-year-old Adenhart died in surgery at the University of California, Irvine Medical Center. Another
passenger, 25-year-old Henry Nigel Pearson of Manhattan Beach, and the driver, 20-year-old Courtney
Frances Stewart of Diamond Bar, died at the scene.
Stewart was a student at nearby Cal State Fullerton, where she was a cheerleader in 2007-08. Pearson, who
played high school baseball with Wilhite, was a graduate of Arizona State University and was pursuing a
law degree when he died.
Wilhite, of Manhattan Beach, was hospitalized for weeks for "internal decapitation," a rare and
often fatal separation of the skull from the spinal column.
Wilhite, who played baseball from 2004-08 at Fullerton, has since been discharged from the hospital and
is undergoing outpatient physical therapy.
He came to the arraignment in a wheelchair but was able to get up and enter the courtroom under his own
power, albeit with an unsteady gait. His head was closely shaved and had a long scar at the base of the
He and his family declined to comment after the arraignment.
Longwith noted that Gallo was being housed in a 14-man jail cell and was not in protective custody. He
said his client is frequently in tears during their meetings and was crying when he came into court.
"He was pretty much in shock," Longwith said.

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