Men charged in Bryan Stow case

Updated: July 23, 2011, 8:33 PM ET
ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- Exonerating one suspect, police charged two other men Friday in the beating of a San Francisco Giants fan outside Dodger Stadium, accusing them of a savage attack that included cutting the victim's tongue and disfiguring his face.

The arrests came two months after an emotional Police Chief Charlie Beck trumpeted the arrest of the initial suspect in the attack on Bryan Stow, a paramedic who suffered a brain injury and remains hospitalized in serious condition.

Giovanni Ramirez, dismissed as a suspect Friday, had been arrested in May but never charged.

"In policing, it's just as important to exonerate the innocent as it is to implicate the guilty," Beck said Friday. "I want to tell the world that Giovanni Ramirez is no longer a suspect in this case."

Prosecutors charged Louie Sanchez, 29, and Marvin Norwood, 30, both of Rialto, with one count each of mayhem, assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, and battery with serious bodily injury, all felonies. Both were being held on $500,000 bail after being arrested Thursday.

The complaint alleged both men personally inflicted great bodily injury on Stow, "causing him to become comatose due to brain injury and to suffer paralysis." The mayhem count alleged that they "did cut and disable the tongue, and put out an eye and slit (Stow's) nose, ear and lip."

A message left at a number for the parents of Sanchez was not returned, and contact details for Norwood's family could not be found.

Dorene Sanchez, believed to be the sister of Louie Sanchez, had been arrested on suspicion of being an accessory after the fact then released. She was not charged; however, Beck said that charges were pending against the woman they'd arrested. The D.A.'s office had no comment on that assertion.

Beck did not provide details on the evidence against the two men but said more details would be released Monday.

The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday that tips from the public about a pair of aggressive fans sitting in the stands on opening day led detectives to focus on Sanchez and Norwood. A law enforcement source, who requested his name not be used because of the ongoing investigation, told the newspaper that detectives noticed that several people who had been sitting in the same section of the stadium had reported seeing a pair of belligerent men seated nearby.

From interviews with the fans, detectives were able to narrow down the area and then compiled a list of possible suspects from ticket sales records. Norwood and Sanchez emerged as prime suspects.

"The Los Angeles Police Department never gave up on this case," district attorney Steve Cooley said in a prepared statement.

Earlier in the day, a law enforcement official with knowledge of the case who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing said police have no forensic evidence against the latest suspects but they had made incriminating statements.

The attack has captured national attention as the Los Angeles Police Department and the Dodgers sought to ease fears about violence at the storied stadium.

Stow, 42, a resident of Santa Cruz and the father of two children, remained hospitalized in San Francisco. His family said in a blog post Friday that he appeared to mouth his last name and might have tried to give a thumbs-up.

On Monday, he underwent emergency surgery for fluid buildup in his head. Doctors have kept him under heavy sedation since the attack to prevent seizures.

Police released no details about the latest arrests in the case until the news conference. The delay came in sharp contrast to the fanfare surrounding the arrest of Ramirez on May 22.

However, the investigation faltered after Ramirez provided almost a dozen statements from friends and family members saying he was nowhere near Dodger Stadium on the night of March 31. Ramirez also volunteered for and passed a polygraph test.

No charges were filed against him in the beating, but he was returned to prison for a parole violation -- having access to a firearm.

"Every single one of us were appalled by what happened to Bryan Stow," Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Friday at the news conference.

The mayor also thanked the detectives who broke the case for their "expertise and professionalism," and for "(putting) their heart in this effort."

Court records show Norwood was sentenced in 2006 to three years' probation and served 118 days in jail after pleading guilty to one felony count of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant.

In 2003, Louie Sanchez pleaded guilty to one felony count of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant, and the following year he pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor count of carrying a loaded firearm in a public place.

Despite those run-ins with the law, neighbors described the men as friendly, baseball-loving fathers.

Neighbor Danyelle Dickson said Louie Sanchez and his family are quiet, friendly people, with whom she had exchanged greetings but had little other contact.

She often saw Sanchez playing catch on the family's lawn with a woman and boy whom she believed to be his wife and son.

"It's just a really nice family, a really quiet family," she said.

Sanchez also was charged Friday with two misdemeanor counts of battery stemming from a separate incident the same day as the beating.

Meanwhile, Soledad Gonzalez, the mother of Ramirez, said she was upset about the arrest of her son in May.

"If you don't have any proof, why did you put the picture of him in public?" she asked at a separate news conference. "That's wrong. There's a big, big mistake that they made."

She said her son would have to decide whether to sue the LAPD.

"We can live with them sending us a letter of apology," said attorney Anthony Brooklier, who represents Ramirez.

Brooklier said attorneys plan to file a writ next week challenging the parole board's decision to keep Ramirez in prison for 10 months after police investigating the beating found a gun in the house where he was staying.

Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne and Jeff Biggs and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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