Thursday, May 31, 2012
Witnesses describe violent scene
LOS ANGELES -- Three women who were at Dodger Stadium during a brutal attack on a San Francisco Giants fan on Opening Day in 2011, gave graphic accounts Thursday of the chaotic scene in a parking lot where the man was chased, punched, kicked and left with brain damage.
Asked during a hearing if she saw anything that caused her alarm, Joann Cerda, who stood over victim Bryan Stow as he lay motionless, said, "Yes. Blood gushing from his ears."
She said she didn't think Stow was still alive.
The testimony came at a preliminary hearing where a judge will determine if there is enough evidence for defendants Marvin Norwood and Louie Sanchez to stand trial on charges of mayhem, assault and battery, and inflicting great bodily injury.
Both have pleaded not guilty, and their lawyers suggested on cross-examination that they might have been involved in some other incident, not the attack on Stow.
Attorneys entered an agreement saying Stow lost a portion of his skull and suffered damage to his brain.
He is now unable to walk, has lost motor skills in his arms and hands, can't carry on a normal conversation, and is unable to control his bodily functions or care for himself, the lawyers said.
Cerda, Megan Duffy and Anna Maria Davila, who all attended the 2011 game separately, said they were returning to their cars when the atmosphere in the parking lot turned violent.
Duffy, who called 911, said she was fearful when she heard the fight break out. She saw Stow being punched and heard his head hit the pavement, she said, and then she rushed to her car, opening it by remote control and jumping inside.
"I locked my car up because I was afraid, and then I saw Bryan being kicked in the head and I asked if he was OK," she said.
She said bystanders who were trying to help Stow answered no and she dialed 911.
"Was Brian defending himself at all?" prosecutor Michele Hanisee asked.
"No," she said. "He wasn't moving."
Cerda said she thought Stow didn't see the first punch coming and stood stunned until he fell backward, hitting his head on the pavement with a loud smashing sound. She said he appeared unconscious as he fell.
Then, she said, the man who had punched him kicked him in the head twice as he lay unconscious.
She said she thought the assailant was leaving when he walked back and kicked Stow again in the rib cage.
"Then he walked away because the other suspect pulled him by the arm and pulled him away as if it was time to go," she said.
None of the witnesses made positive identifications of Sanchez and Norwood as the assailants. But all three gave descriptions that suggested Sanchez was the attacker.
Davila told a judge about encountering two men who matched the descriptions of defendants charged in the attack on the Santa Cruz paramedic.
Davila said one of the men was taunting Giants fans earlier and punched a teenage boy who backed off.
She described a generally troubling atmosphere.
"I was annoyed by their behavior," she said. "There were a lot of fans coming by, and there were a lot of slurs being said (about) the Giants, a lot of profanity."
Then, she said, the men turned their attention to a group of four Giants fans in their 30s. She didn't see a confrontation but said the men came running back a few minutes later, jumped into a car and shouted at a woman at the wheel, "'Drive, Drive!'" and they took off.
The case is fraught with undercurrents for the city where Dodger Stadium has long been a baseball landmark. The beating prompted public outrage and led to increased security at Los Angeles Dodgers games.
The judge scheduled an abbreviated session Friday afternoon before the case recesses until Wednesday.