Partial verdict found in Nick Adenart case

SANTA ANA, Calif. -- A California judge found a man accused of murder in a drunken-driving crash that killed rookie Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and two others guilty Friday of driving with a suspended license.

But the jury considering the three murder counts and other charges recessed for the weekend without reaching a verdict.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Richard Toohey found defendant Andrew Gallo guilty of the count involving his license after a short bench trial. Gallo had requested the count be severed from the main case and waived his right to a jury trial.

Gallo, 23, is accused of drinking for hours with his stepbrother before getting behind the wheel on April 9, 2009, running a red light and T-boning another car carrying the 22-year-old Adenhart and two others, 20-year-old Courtney Stewart and 25-year-old Henry Pearson.

Gallo has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

His defense attorney, Jacqueline Goodman, argued at trial that Gallo thought his stepbrother was his designated driver and only took the wheel when his stepbrother became too drunk and asked him to drive.

Gallo was charged with murder -- not manslaughter -- because he had a prior DUI conviction, had been warned by a judge and alcohol awareness counselors about the dangers of drinking and driving, and had signed a court waiver in the earlier case indicating he knew he could be charged with murder if he drove while drunk and killed someone.

He could face more than 50 years to life in prison if convicted on all charges.

The jury got the case Thursday after a two-week trial.