The man Los Angeles police have named as the prime suspect in a vicious assault on a San Francisco Giants fan at Dodger Stadium on opening day was ordered back to state prison Monday to serve 10 months for violating his parole.
Deputy Parole Commissioner Ali Zarrinnam ruled that there was sufficient cause to put Giovanni Ramirez, 31, back behind bars because he had access to a gun that had been placed in a laundry basket at the residence where he was staying.
The LAPD said the gun was discovered May 27 as they were serving a search warrant in connection with the Bryan Stow beating case.
The ruling buys time for the LAPD, which might otherwise have been forced to release Ramirez if it couldn't persuade the Los Angeles County district attorney's office to charge him in the Stow beating.
The LAPD has yet to present a formal case against Ramirez, who was arrested May 27. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has said the department has a case that relies "hugely" on eyewitness identifications that are difficult to prove in court.
Earlier this month, the parole hearing commissioner found probable cause to revoke the parole of Ramirez, a Varrio Nuevo Estrada gang member, on the charge of being a felon in possession of a gun.
On Monday, Zarrinnam amended that charge to reflect that Ramirez had access to the gun. Luis Patino, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said it was "not unusual" for a hearing commissioner to amend the proposed violation before a ruling.
Chris Smith, one of Ramirez's attorneys, said he would appeal the decision to the state Board of Parole Hearings. He said authorities failed to show that his client knew there was a gun in the residence.
"The fact that [police] find a gun in proximity to the location where he spends the night on occasion does not mean that he either possessed or had access to it," Smith said. "They have to show he had knowledge of its presence."
The LAPD released a statement saying the investigation into the Stow assault is continuing.
Detectives with the Robbery-Homicide Division, who took over the case from division detectives two weeks ago, asked that anyone who witnessed the assault to contact the department and created a dedicated email account for clues including photos, video or other information that could aid in the investigation.
Authorities have been examining clothing for forensic samples that would link Ramirez, a convicted felon who has had two previous parole violations, to the attack and reviewing photographs at the stadium to see if Ramirez can be placed there.
Defense attorney Anthony Brooklier has filed a motion in Los Angeles County Superior Court seeking to preserve a hotel video recorded April 1 that he alleges would show his client had hair on his head. Witnesses had described the primary suspect as having a shaved head.