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Prosecutors won't charge driver in Dodger Stadium beating case

The woman who drove the alleged attackers from Dodger Stadium after the beating of Bryan Stow will not be criminally charged, Los Angeles County prosecutors say.

August 11, 2011|By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times
  • Suspects Marvin Norwood, left, and Louie Sanchez in courtroom sketches.
Suspects Marvin Norwood, left, and Louie Sanchez in courtroom sketches. (Bill Robles / Associated…)

The woman who drove the alleged attackers from Dodger Stadium after the beating of Bryan Stow will not be criminally charged, Los Angeles County prosecutors revealed Wednesday.

Dorene Sanchez was arrested last month along with the two main suspects, Louie Sanchez, her brother, and her boyfriend, Marvin Norwood.

Though Dorene Sanchez provided key testimony against the suspects during grand jury testimony, prosecutors said they could not prove that she knew about the beating when she drove the men home from the Dodgers' opening day game against the San Francisco Giants on March 31.

Photos: Suspects in Bryan Stow beating charged

Sources familiar with the investigation but who are not authorized to comment told the Los Angeles Times that she learned of the attack later and cooperated with police detectives when they approached her.

"There is no admissible evidence to establish that Ms. Sanchez had knowledge of the felony offense," a prosecutor's document stated. "It is unclear that Ms. Sanchez could witness the assault in the parking lot."

Officials said the beating took place several hundred feet away from where Dorene Sanchez's car was parked. Norwood and Louie Sanchez returned to the car, jumped into the rear seat and instructed her to drive.

On Wednesday, prosecutors, without offering specific details, said Louie Sanchez and Norwood incriminated themselves.

Prosecutors say they are not basing their case on eyewitnesses. "There are statements made by both defendants that will be used in the prosecution," Deputy Dist. Atty. Frank Santoro said. "I would call them admissions."

A judge would not allow news cameras in the downtown courtroom for the hearing Wednesday at which Louie Sanchez and Norwood pleaded not guilty to all charges. But Santoro said cameras would not affect the case because 20 witnesses have already seen the suspects in person or in photographs. Santoro said one of those witnesses had identified Louie Sanchez in a live lineup; none identified Norwood.

Gilbert Quinones, Louie Sanchez's attorney, said it is easy to make assertions, but the prosecutor will have to prove them to a jury.

In court, Sanchez and Norwood, longtime friends and neighbors, stood 20 feet apart and avoided eye contact with each other.

Sanchez is also charged with battery, stemming from accusations that he hit a woman with a soda and pushed a man at the game. Sanchez and Norwood are being held in lieu of $500,000 bail each.

In court papers, prosecutors allege that Stow tried to escape an initial attack but that his assailants chased him. Sanchez shoved Stow and punched one of Stow's friends, according to the prosecution.

Stow continued to walk with his friends toward the edge of the parking lot, where Sanchez allegedly caught up with the group and punched another of Stow's friends, knocking him to the ground. As Stow faced Norwood, Sanchez surprised him from behind and punched him in the side of the head, prosecutors allege.

Photos: Suspects in Bryan Stow beating charged

The pair kicked the unconscious Stow, and Norwood yelled, "Who else wants to fight?" according to prosecutors.

Stow, 42, of Santa Cruz, remains hospitalized in San Francisco and has been responding to more commands and lifting his arms and legs in recent days, according to his family.

richard.winton@latimes.com

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