LOS ANGELES -- A criminal complaint against two new suspects describes in graphic detail the injuries suffered by a San Francisco Giants fan who was beaten nearly to death outside Dodger Stadium -- including cuts to the victim's face and tongue.
The charges filed Friday against Louie Sanchez, 29, and Marvin Norwood, 30, were announced by Police Chief Charlie Beck as he exonerated a man initially named as the prime suspect.
|Charlie Beck (left) and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announce the arrest of two new suspects in the beating of a Giants fan. (AP)|
Stow, a 42-year-old paramedic, remains hospitalized in serious condition from the attack after the Giants-Dodgers game on opening day, March 31. Stow's family said in a blog post Friday that he appeared to mouth his last name and might have tried to give a thumbs-up.
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."
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.
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 arrests came two months after an emotional Beck trumpeted the arrest of the initial suspect Giovanni Ramirez, who was never charged. Despite his exoneration, Ramirez remains jailed on a parole violation.
For months, Beck had steadfastly maintained his confidence that Ramirez was the right suspect.
"In policing, it's just as important to exonerate the innocent as it is to implicate the guilty," Beck said Friday at a terse news conference. "I want to tell the world that Giovanni Ramirez is no longer a suspect in this case."
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 Friday, a law enforcement official with knowledge of the case who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing, said police had no forensic evidence against the latest suspects but they had made incriminating statements.
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.