Suspects in Stow Case Charged With Mayhem, Assault

Details that emerged Friday about two men charged in the beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow suggest that the suspects managed to convey an image of normalcy in their Rialto community despite multiple prior arrests.

Louie Alex Sanchez, 29, and Marvin Eugene Norwood, 30, connected by marriage and both fathers with young children, were taken into custody on Thursday during an LAPD raid on the street where they lived within a few houses of one another.

They were charged with one count each of mayhem, assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury and battery with serious bodily injury -- all felonies -- according to a news release (pdf here) from the Los Angeles District Attorney.

The defendants are scheduled to appear for arraignment in LA Superior Court on Monday.

Special Section: Bryan Stow Investigation 

In addition, Sanchez was charged with two misdemeanor counts of battery stemming from a separate incident the same day, according to the DA. The complaint alleged both men personally inflicted great bodily injury on Stow.

If convicted, Sanchez faces a possible maximum state prison term of nine years and Norwood faces a possible maximum eight-year term.

Bryan Stow, a paramedic and 42-year-old father of two, was brutally beaten in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium in May and remains hospitalized in serious condition.

The severity of the charges -- and the brutal beating that prompted them -- stand in sharp contrast to the bucolic scene in the neighborhood known as Cedar Park where Sanchez and Norwood lived with their families. 

Both Norwood's home, a one-story grey stucco, and the Sanchez home, a two-story tan stucco where he reportedly lived with his elderly parents, have well-kept yards on a park-like cul de sac that hours after the raid was bustling with activity. 

Children rode bikes and skateboards along West Victoria Street as parents and grandparents chatted on shaded porches. 

Dean Vurgess, who lives across the street from Norwood, said he came home from work to find his street "swarming with police" in suits and unmarked cars. 

Vurgess described Norwood, who he said had several children, as "a nice family man who was involved in neighborhood barbecues and birthday parties." Sanchez is also said to have a child who visited on weekends.

"We have barbecues together. We have dinners together." Vurgess said. "I know the guy very well. He's not a violent person."

Another neighbor, Daisy Arellano, said simply that she was "stunned" by the arrests.

Sanchez was previously arrested on suspicion of spousal abuse, making criminal threats, selling and possession of a firearm and driving while intoxicated, according to San Bernardino Court records.

Norwood's arrest record includes spousal abuse, possession of stolen property, drug possession, robbery and driving while intoxicated, records show.  

A third suspect, Dorene Sanchez, 31, was taken into custody at the same Rialto residence as Louie Sanchez. She was identified as his sister and the mother of a child with Norwood, according to arrest records.

Bail is set at $500,000 for each man. Dorene Sanchez was arrested on suspicion of being an accessory after the fact. She posted $50,000 bail and was released.

The two men made incriminating statements that implicated them in the attack, a law enforcement official told the Associated Press. The official said there was no forensic evidence against the men.

NBC4 learned Thursday that the LAPD reportedly has surveillance video of an altercation between Stow and his attackers before the beating. Sources said the video shows Stow engaged in a verbal confrontation with two men.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck stayed mum on the new arrests until a 5 p.m. news conference Friday.  The new arrests mark a sharp turn in the case. 

Until Thursday the only known suspect in the case was Giovanni Ramirez, who was arrested shortly after the attack. 

Beck repeatedly referred to Ramirez as the "prime suspect" in the case but declined to file charges, instead holding him on a parole violation. He is serving a 10-month sentence for the violation. 

Ramirez is no longer a suspect in the case, Beck said during the news conference.

"In policing, it is just as important to exonerate the innocent as it is to implicate the guilty," Beck said.

"These are words that define the character of the Los Angeles Police Department," he said.  "I want to tell the world, Giovanni Ramirez is no longer a suspect in this case."

Jack Trimarco, who conducted the test for Ramirez's defense team, said Beck's conclusion was a long time coming.

"After the polygraph, there was no doubt in my mind he was innocent," he said. "I've been trying to say since May 31 [the day of polygraph], they had the wrong guy."

Ramirez's mother, Soledad Gonzalez, reacted to the news with relief for her son -- and anger at the LAPD.

"I am very upset because they did something wrong," Gonzalez said. "If you don't have any proof, why did you put the picture of him in public and say he is the suspect?"

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who appeared with Beck at the news conference on Friday, acknowledged the dramatic shift in the case, but also expressed confidence in the police department.

"The Bryan Stow case has been given paramount attention, and I am proud of the job our detectives have done to pursue every lead and utilize every single resource at their disposal," Villaraigosa said. "Like every case, it's been an ongoing investigation, and with new credible information, the case changed course and took a new path."

Danyelle Dickson, another neighbor of Sanchez and Norwood, expressed skepticism about the new arrests.

"I think it could be mistaken identity again," she said.

"I'm shocked it happened in this neighborhood," Dickson added. "They have babies. They're a really quiet family."

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