Thursday, February 20, 2014
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two men pleaded guilty Thursday to a 2011 beating at Dodger Stadium that left San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow brain damaged and disabled.
They were immediately sentenced by an angry judge who called them cowards and the sort of people that sports fans fear when they go to games.
Louie Sanchez, 31, saying he kicked and punched Stow, pleaded guilty to one count of mayhem that disabled and disfigured the victim. He was sentenced to eight years in prison with credit for 1,086 days.
Marvin Norwood pleaded guilty to one count of assault likely to produce great bodily injury and was sentenced to four years. His credit for time already in custody appeared to account for at least the majority of that term.
They were sentenced 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 only seemed to care when they will 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."
Stow, a 45-year-old paramedic from Santa Cruz who attended the 2011 opening day game in Los Angeles between the Dodgers and the Giants, was beaten nearly to death in a parking lot after the game. He suffered brain damage and is permanently disabled, requiring 24-hour-a-day care.
The beating prompted public outrage and led to increased security at Dodgers' games. A civil suit by Stow is pending against the Dodgers organization and former owner Frank McCourt.
Sanchez and Norwood were arrested after a lengthy manhunt that briefly involved the arrest of an innocent man. The two acknowledged their involvement during a series of secretly recorded jailhouse conversations.
Norwood was recorded telling his own mother by phone that he was involved and saying, "I will certainly go down for it."
The words the two men spoke in a jail lockup, unaware they were being recorded, were played at a preliminary hearing as they were ordered to stand trial on charges of mayhem and assault and battery.
In a 12-minute conversation, Sanchez acknowledged he attacked a Giants fan, and Norwood said he had no regrets about backing him up.
"I socked him, jumped him and started beating him," a transcript of the conversation quoted Sanchez, who also apologized to Norwood for dragging him into the fight.
"That happens, bro," said Norwood. "I mean, what kind of man would I have been if I hadn't jumped in and tried to help you."
Witnesses testified about the parking lot confrontation, saying Stow was jumped from behind and his head crashed to the pavement.
Witnesses at the hearing said Sanchez taunted Giants fans throughout the game.
Two witnesses who attended the March 31, 2011, game told of being bothered by Sanchez, who was throwing peanuts and spraying soda on a woman in the bleachers. His sister testified that Sanchez was drunk.
Corey Maciel, a fellow paramedic who came with Stow from Northern California to cheer for the Giants, told of seeing his friend attacked and throwing his own body over him to prevent further harm.
"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 assailant 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 person say, "(expletive) the Giants. That's what you get."
"I threw my body over Bryan's head to stop any more physical contact," Maciel said.
Another friend, also a paramedic, held the injured Stow's head to protect his spine. But he had already suffered devastating injuries.
Last spring, Stow returned home after two years in hospitals and rehabilitation centers. His family said he requires constant physical therapy and remains severely disabled.