Two men who savagely beat another man outside of Dodger Stadium were sentenced on Thursday by an angry judge, who condemned the attackers and called their crime an act of cowardice. Louie Sanchez, 31, was sentenced to eight years in prison, while his friend and partner-in-crime Marvin Norwood, 30, was sentenced to four. The victim was Bryan Stow, a 45-year-old paramedic who has been left permanently disabled due to the attack.
It was March 31, 2011–opening day in Los Angeles. The first game of the season pitted two iconic franchises who have been entrenched in a continual rivalry for more than a century, the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The setting was perfect, and the baseball was crisply played. At the end of the night, the home team came away victorious by a score of 2-1. Unfortunately, an otherwise enjoyable evening took a turn for the worse when Sanchez and Norwood followed Stow into the parking lot and jumped him from behind. His offense? Being a Giants fan.
When news of the story broke nearly three years ago, the public responded with understandable outrage. A widespread manhunt for the suspects was undertaken, and Dodger Stadium security has since been tightened considerably. Even with the two Dodger Stadium attackers apprehended, sentenced, and thoroughly dressed down by an appropriately angry judge, none of it can take back what was taken from Stow and his family, several of whom were present at the sentencing.
His father, David, set a Giants baseball hat on the podium, looked directly at the attackers, and informed them that they were “cretins” who deserved every bit of their prison sentence. Stow’s sister, Bonnie, gave an emotional description of what a day in her brother’s life is like following the attack. He is now dependent on his family for everything, and takes 13 different medications over the course of one day.
The family’s testimony appeared to have little effect on the assailants. At one point, the judge noted Sanchez smirking and scolded him for doing so, reminding him that he had ruined Stow’s life and the lives of his family. Sanchez, who was verbally accosting Giants fans throughout the game and would later sucker punch Stow in the parking lot, was evidently not moved by the judge’s admonishments. Other witnesses at the game were also affected by Sanchez’s antics, as he was seen spraying soda and hurling peanuts at one female spectator. Sanchez’s sister testified that he had been inebriated at the time of the game.
The mindset of the two attackers is perhaps best presented in a conversation they had together in a jail lockup, unaware that it was being recorded all the while. Sanchez acknowledged beating a Giants fan, recounting the experience in detail, and then apologized for involving Norwood in the fight. Norwood waved off the apology, reminding Sanchez that these things happen, and that he would not be much of a man if he refused to help his friend out.
At the end of the sentencing, the clearly angered judge left the Dodger Stadium attackers with the stern reminder that while they would serve their respective sentences and eventually be released, it was not so simple for Bryan Stow or his family. Even when Sanchez and Norwood have done their time and are back in public, Stow will still be suffering from the brain damage inflicted upon him in the beating, and his family will be forever affected as well–all because of what should be a friendly rivalry between the fans of two baseball teams.
By Spencer Hendricks