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Stow Beating Suspects Plead Not Guilty

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) —Two men pleaded not guilty Friday to charges stemming from the beating of a San Francisco Giants fan who suffered brain damage as a result of an attack in a parking lot at Dodger Stadium on opening day last
year.

Louie Sanchez, 30, and Marvin Norwood, 31, both of Rialto, were ordered June 8 to stand trial on one felony count each of mayhem, assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury and battery with serious bodily injury involving the March 31, 2011, attack on Bryan Stow.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli also found sufficient evidence involving an allegation that Sanchez had personally inflicted great bodily injury on the off-duty paramedic but ruled there was insufficient evidence that Norwood had.

Sanchez also was bound over for trial on a misdemeanor count of battery involving a run-in with a female Giants fan — who was sprayed with soda — and a misdemeanor battery count for allegedly swinging his fist at a young man in another group of Giants fans in the parking lot after the Dodgers-Giants game.

Stow, now 43, suffered a fracture that resulted in the loss of a portion of his skull as well as brain damage, according to a stipulation signed by attorneys from both sides and read in court during the preliminary hearing.

Stow is “unable to walk, has loss of motor skills in his arms and hands, is unable to carry on a normal conversation, unable to control his bodily functions and unable to care for himself due to diffuse, severe, traumatic brain injury,” according to the document. “Bryan Stow will require skilled long-term care and daily assistance for the remainder of his life.”

At the end of the preliminary hearing, which stretched over six days, the judge said surreptitiously recorded July 2011 jailhouse conversations in which Sanchez repeatedly apologizes to Norwood and tells him that he got Norwood and his own sister “in some (expletive)” showed “a consciousness of guilt on his part.”

A transcript of the jailhouse conversations indicates that Sanchez asked Norwood, “How much time do you think we are going to get?”

“A lot,” Norwood responded.

Sanchez said during the conversation that “they harassed my sister” and “I socked him … jumped him and started beating him,” according to a transcript.

Norwood said at one point in the conversation that “I don’t get how (expletive) we are the bad guys because something misfortunate happened to, you know, their side.”

Norwood’s attorney, Victor Escobedo, told the judge earlier this month that his client acted as a “peacemaker” during a prior confrontation with a Giants fan inside the stadium and was “not looking for trouble.” He said he believed the evidence had not shown that Norwood was involved in the attack on Stow, a Bay Area paramedic and father of two.

Sanchez’s attorney, Gilbert Quinones, noted that numerous witnesses, including Stow’s friends, testified that there were many rowdy Dodgers fans in the stadium that day and questioned a woman’s identification of Sanchez as the man she saw kicking Stow after he had fallen unconscious to the ground in the parking lot.

The defense lawyer said he believed the witnesses were “describing a different individual other than Louie Sanchez,” citing differences in their accounts about the assailant’s height and the kind of baseball cap he was wearing.

Deputy District Attorney Michele Hanisee countered that it was very clear that Sanchez was behaving in a hostile, aggressive manner against Giants fans at the game, and that Norwood’s remarks in a July 2011 phone call to his mother that he was involved in “that Dodger Stadium thing” could only pertain to the highly publicized attack on Stow.

The prosecutor acknowledged that “clearly Mr. Norwood is the less culpable of the two,” noting that he was not charged in the earlier fracas in which Sanchez poured a soda on the female Giants fan inside the stadium. Witnesses described Norwood as holding back Sanchez as he moved toward the woman’s boyfriend.

Hanisee also noted that one of Stow’s friends described Stow as saying in a raised voice after being heckled by Dodgers fans that he hoped they “code” — a term for cardiac arrest — and that Sanchez could be heard telling Norwood during the jail cell conversation that “the dudes were (expletive) with us saying it was a cardiac arrest, harassing my sister.”

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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