FULLERTON, Calif. (AP) " The man charged with killing Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and two others in a car accident last week is an alcoholic, but not a monster, his family said in an interview.
Andrew Thomas Gallo's parents said they have received death threats in the week since the crash that killed Adenhart, Courtney Stewart and Henry Pearson, and seriously injured Jon Wilhite, according to a report published by ESPN.com on Friday.
Gallo's mother, Sandra Sagahon, and his father, Thomas Gallo, said the media has demonized their son after the crash.
"It was an accident," Sagahon said. "He never meant to hurt anybody, ever."
Andrew Gallo was charged with three counts of murder, driving under the influence of alcohol and fleeing the scene of an accident. Police say the 22-year-old had nearly triple the legal blood-alcohol level at the time of his arrest. He could receive 55 years to life if convicted on all charges.
"Those angels that (died) were good people," Sagahon said. "And so (is) my son. He's a wonderful kid."
Relatives said Gallo began drinking as a teenager when he bounced between his parents' two homes. The couple divorced when Andrew was 5.
Thomas Gallo, a real estate agent, did not allow alcohol in his home, so his son usually went out with friends and his stepbrother, Raymond Rivera, 20, who was with Gallo in the red minivan he had borrowed from his father on the night of the crash.
Lilia Gallo, Andrew's stepmother, said Rivera is also an alcoholic.
"I didn't think he was out getting into trouble," Sagahon said. "It's not like he was a bad kid or a gang member."
Andrew Gallo was first arrested for driving drunk in 2006. As part of a plea deal, he agreed to attend the Bible Tabernacle's New Life Institute, which offers free room and board to men recovering from drug and alcohol addiction at a remote facility in north Los Angeles County. The Christian ministry uses faith to heal addiction and is not licensed as recovery program.
During his six-month stay, Gallo got up at 5:30 a.m., read the Bible for 90 minutes every day and worked as a grounds crew member.
Afterward, he moved home to his father's house in San Gabriel and tried to stay clean and get a job. In September, he returned to the Bible Tabernacle and enrolled again.
A few months into his second stay there, Gallo was expelled.
"He was discharged because of his belligerence and his attitude. He just had a gang banger attitude," Bible Tabernacle Director of Operations Mario Harper said.
Before the accident, Gallo was trying to put his life back together and talking about new goals, like owning his own construction company. He told his family he was going to start a new construction job on April 9 " the day of the accident.
"I don't wish this upon nobody, not those parents that lost their three little angels," his mother said. "We don't want to be there either, and unfortunately, we were put here and left here for a reason for people to see, to react and think before they do."
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