Details emerge in baseball beating case
Saturday, July 23, 2011
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The investigation into the near-fatal beating of a San Francisco Giants fan on opening day at Dodger Stadium took a surprising turn with the arrest of two new suspects and the embarrassing realization that police likely bungled the initial probe by nabbing the wrong guy.
Perhaps hoping to avoid a replay of the misstep, police initially said nothing about the latest arrests, although a news conference was scheduled for late Friday.
Earlier in the day, a law enforcement official with knowledge of the case who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said police have no forensic evidence against the latest suspects but they had made incriminating statements.
The suspects arrested Thursday were identified as Louie Sanchez, 29, and Marvin Norwood, 30. Both are from San Bernardino County and were booked into Los Angeles police jail on $500,000 bail.
Also arrested was Dorene Sanchez on suspicion of being an accessory after the fact. She was released Friday and did not return a call for comment.
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.
The names of the suspects were first reported by the Los Angeles Times.
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.
Beating victim Bryan Stow, the father of two children, remained hospitalized in San Francisco in serious condition. 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.
The hesitation by police to immediately disclose details on the latest suspects came in sharp contrast to the fanfare surrounding the arrest of Giovanni Ramirez on May 22. Police Chief Charlie Beck heralded his capture and repeatedly said he was confident about the case that was based solely on eyewitness accounts.
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.
Prosecutors have until Monday to file charges against Louie Sanchez and Norwood, both of whom have violent pasts.
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 2001, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of disturbing the peace and in 2003 he pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance and was sentenced to two years’ probation.
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 convictions, 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.
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 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.
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