SANTA ANA (AP) — The stepbrother of a man charged with murder in a drunken-driving crash that killed rookie Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and two others testified that he pressured the defendant to keep drinking even though he wanted to go home.
Raymond Rivera said Wednesday that he and defendant Andrew Gallo spent hours drinking at two bars before the deadly crash. When Gallo went to the restroom, Rivera said he ordered two more beers but Gallo got upset and wanted to go home rather than drink them.
Rivera told jurors he egged Gallo on, telling him that he paid for the beers and they should finish them.
“I told him I had wasted my last couple of bucks on it and you’re not going to drink it. I thought you were my brother,” said Rivera, who had to pause to compose himself. “He wanted to stop. I persuaded him to continue.”
Gallo, 23, covered his eyes and appeared to be crying at the defense table.
Prosecutors were expected to play a videotape Thursday of Gallo’s interview with police just after his arrest. His defense attorney Jacqueline Goodman has not decided whether she will call him as a witness.
Gallo pleaded not guilty to three counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of the 22-year-old Adenhart, 20-year-old Courtney Stewart and 25-year-old Henry Pearson.
He has also pleaded not guilty to one count of felony hit-and-run and two counts of driving while drunk and causing injuries to another person in the car carrying Adenhart and to Rivera, who was Gallo’s passenger in a minivan.
Gallo, whose blood-alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit at the time of the collision, could face a maximum sentence of more than 50 years to life in prison if convicted.
The district attorney’s office charged Gallo with murder — instead of the lesser charge of manslaughter — in part because he had a prior DUI conviction and signed documents saying he understood he could be charged with murder if he killed someone while driving drunk.
Gallo and Rivera were in a good mood before the crash because Gallo was starting a new job the next day and had received a government assistance check, and Rivera believed he had landed a second job.
The pair drank several beers each at one bar and did a tequila shot before going to a bikini bar. There, they drank “boombahs” — beers in foot-tall glasses that hold the equivalent of about three pints each, Rivera said.
Rivera said he blacked out, but recalled buying himself and Gallo a pint each of a specialty beer that’s notorious for having such a high alcohol content that some bars don’t serve it.
The prosecutor also presented a witness who worked at another bar a few doors away and testified the two brothers came in and each ordered a beer and a shot.
Rivera said he doesn’t remember going to that bar or getting in the minivan.
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