Friend tried to stop raging assailant

Updated: June 7, 2012, 10:07 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

LOS ANGELES -- A friend who witnessed a vicious attack on a San Francisco Giants fan at Dodger Stadium testified Wednesday he threw his body over his friend's head to prevent further attacks by a raging assailant.

Corey Maciel, a fellow paramedic who came with victim Bryan Stow from Northern California to cheer for the Giants, testified at a preliminary hearing for two men charged with the attack. Stow has been permanently disabled with brain damage.

Defendants Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood showed no reaction to the testimony being heard by a judge to determine if there is sufficient evidence to order them to stand trial on mayhem and assault charges. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Maciel described a hostile atmosphere, with Dodgers fans throwing food at them and cursing during last year's Opening Day game.

When they left, he said, a Dodgers fan ran at Stow and let loose a haymaker punch at his head. He said Stow fell unconscious, cracking his head on cement, then was kicked in the head and torso. Maciel recalled trying to shield Stow as assailants advanced.

Moments earlier, Maciel said, the same man had pushed Stow and punched two other men in their party.

"We were walking and we were also being heckled," he said. "Bryan said, 'I hope they code.' ... That's a medical term for cardiac arrest."

He said two men followed them through the parking lot, and one of the men asked Stow: "What (expletive) did you say, homie?"

He said another member of their group got punched by a short Hispanic man who then hit Stow when he wasn't looking.

"As soon as he was punched, he was unconscious and fell back on his head," Maciel testified. "He was unable to brace himself. I saw his head bounce off the concrete. I heard the crack."

The man then kicked Stow in the head at least three times and again in the torso, according to the testimony.

Maciel said he heard profanities and one assailant say, "(expletive) the Giants. That's what you get."

He said men continued to advance on Stow and seemed intent on attacking again.

"I threw my body over Bryan's head to stop any more physical contact," he said.

Another friend, also a paramedic, held the injured Stow's head to protect his spine.

"Bryan was deeply unconscious with his eyes open," Maciel said. "He didn't respond to any outside stimuli. ... He was snoring, which indicates a very deep level of unconsciousness."

He said there was blood on Stow's head and coming from his ear.

The witness at times took deep breaths to get his emotions under control as he described the events that left Stow permanently disabled with no use of his arms and unable to carry on a conversation. He continues to undergo rehabilitation therapy but is not expected to make a full recovery.

Like other witnesses, Maciel did not offer a positive identification of the defendants, but the physical descriptions suggested it was them.

Prosecutor Beth Silverman played a recording of the 911 call made by a woman bystander. She handed the phone to Maciel, who used his paramedic training to give a full description of what had happened.

He told the operator his friend had suffered a trauma and his respiration was decreasing rapidly. He also said then it would be difficult to identify the assailant.

Meanwhile, the woman who drove the defendants away from the stadium the night of the attack will testify on Thursday.

Dorene Sanchez is the sister of Sanchez. She had been arrested with him and Norwood on suspicion of being an accessory after the fact. But authorities never charged her in the case.

A witness who testified earlier said Dorene Sanchez may have egged on the men to go after Stow and was waiting when they came running back to the car shouting, "Drive! Drive! Let's get out of here!"

More than a dozen witnesses have testified so far with only one able to identify Sanchez from a photograph. But prosecutors have said their case would be built on admissions by the defendants, not on eyewitness identifications. They have played a tape of Norwood telling his mother he was involved in "that Dodger Stadium thing" and expected to be "going down" for it.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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