The two men accused of the near-fatal beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow after the 2011 season opener at Dodger Stadium have both pleaded guilty.
Marvin Norwood and Louie Sanchez both entered guilty pleas in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Thursday in the attack that left Stow with permanent, severe brain injuries. Both faced charges of mayhem, assault and battery, and inflicting great bodily injury.
Stow, who was a Santa Cruz paramedic at the time of the March 31, 2011, incident in Los Angeles, suffered a fractured skull and traumatic brain injuries in the attack. Stow, now 45, was left permanently disabled and will need special medical and rehabilitative care for the rest of his life.
Details on the pleas, from the Los Angeles Times:
Norwood was sentenced to four years in prison after he pleaded guilty to assault causing great bodily injury in Los Angeles Superior Court. In exchange, the earlier mayhem charge was dropped.
Sanchez pleaded guilty to one count of mayhem in exchange for eight years in prison. He could have received 11 years in prison if convicted of the original charges.
As The Associated Press reports, Sanchez and Norwood were sentenced only after Stow’s family addressed the court:
David Stow, the victim’s father, placed a Giants ball cap on a podium.
“The years you spend in prison is what you cretins deserve,” he said.
The victim’s sister, Bonnie Stow, described her brother’s life.
“We shower him, we dress him, we fix his meals,” she said. “We make sure he gets his 13 medications throughout the day. He takes two different anti-seizure medications to prevent the seizures he endured for months after you brutally and cowardly attacked him.”
Superior Court Judge George Lomeli called out Sanchez for smirking during sentencing.
“You not only ruined the life of Mr. Stow (but) his children, his family, his friends,” the judge said.
He said the men seemed to care about only when they will be getting out of jail.
“One day you will be released,” he said, “and Mr. Stow will forever be trapped in the condition you left him in.”
The judge said he often takes his son to football games and “my biggest fear is that we might run into people like you, who have no civility.”
He concluded, “it’s only a game at the end of the day and you lost perspective.”
Finally, back to the L.A. Times, which recounts the night of the Stow attack and its aftermath:
Stow was attacked as he and three other Giants fans, all Bay Area paramedics, walked through the parking lot after the Dodgers’ opening day win against the Giants. Witnesses at a preliminary hearing last year described boorish, drunken and profane behavior by Sanchez against Giants fans.
According to witnesses, Stow said he hoped two men launching a verbal assault would “code,” paramedic slang for having a heart attack, and that one of the men, later identified as Sanchez, shoved Stow. The paramedics took off to avoid a confrontation but a few minutes later the two assailants accosted Stow and his friends.
Witnesses said Stow was sucker-punched, falling to the ground and fracturing his skull. Once on the ground, Stow was kicked in the ribs and head, they said.
None of the witnesses could positively identify Sanchez or Norwood as having delivered the punch, and many of those closest to the altercation were unable to pick either defendant out during police lineups.
But ultimately, the words the two men spoke in jail after their arrest in July 2011 — unaware they were being recorded — made it hard for them to deny their role in the brutal beating, officials said. Those statements, along with testimony from Dorene Sanchez, Sanchez’s sister and Norwood’s fiancee, placed them at the scene of the crime.
In a 12-minute recorded conversation, the two expressed amazement at the evidence detectives had amassed against them, with one remarking that police “know everything, bro” and the other saying, “Wow, we’re done.”
“How much time do you think we are going to get?” Norwood asked.
“A lot,” replied Sanchez.
Placed together in a holding cell as they awaited a police lineup, the men immediately began comparing notes about the evidence and discussed what Sanchez’s 10-year-old son would say.
“I socked him, jumped him and started beating him,” Sanchez said, apologizing to Norwood for getting him involved in the violence.
“That happens, bro,” Norwood replied. “I mean, what kind of man would I have been if I hadn’t jumped in.”
In another recording, Norwood told his mother that he had been arrested for “that Dodger Stadium thing” and admitted he “was involved.” In finding there was enough evidence for the two to stand trial last year, a judge noted that Norwood had tried initially to act as a peacemaker when Sanchez taunted and attacked rival fans, but that he had later joined in the violence.