Mrs. Gallo Pleads ‘No Contest’ To Manslaughter Charge, Gets Probation
GILROY, Calif. (AP) _ A remorseful Aileen Gallo, 77-year-old wife of multimillionaire winemaker Julio Gallo, pleaded no contest Thursday to a manslaughter charge in a fatal auto accident and drew probation and a fine.
Mrs. Gallo, appearing in court with her husband and weeping as she faced Gilroy Municipal Court Judge Jerome Brock, was sentenced to three years’ probation, 350 hours of community work, fined $2,400 and ordered to make restitution to the victim’s family on all uninsured losses.
Julio Gallo and his brother, Ernest, own the world’s largest winery, headquartered in Modesto. Each brother is estimated to be worth $500 million. Gilroy is 70 miles south of San Franciso and 50 miles southwest of Modesto.
Julio’s arm was around his wife’s shoulders as they faced the judge. Court clerk Lupe Dellanini said both wept.
″It was an emotional hearing,″ the judge told a reporter later. ″All the indications I have gotten throughout the case from the probation report and her statement to probation officers and in court (is) that the woman is pretty much devastated.″
The judge said he thought Mrs. Gallo would be haunted by the death of Sharon Kauk, 26. Mrs. Gallo’s plea of nolo contendere was tantamount to a plea of guilty to the charge of misdemeanor manslaughter in the Jan. 2 accident.
The maximum penalty was one year in prison.
The judge said the victim’s family asked that Mrs. Gallo not receive any jail time.
″I don’t think we could come up with a more sympathetic defendant, as far as this type of thing goes,″ the judge said. ″She didn’t have so much as a parking ticket and lives to do things for other people.″