Giving what's called a "Victim Impact Statement" in court
is one of the hardest things anyone who has been a victim of crime will do.
Facing your accuser. Telling them just how much they've
hurt you. Laying your soul bare in front of someone who has destroyed your life
or a part of it.
It's not easy.
Last year, I gave one.
Standing less than twenty feet away from a career criminal
who victimized my family and made me cry more tears than he will ever know, my
voice trembling, my hands shaking I explained to him exactly what he had done
to us that fateful day.
Armed with a row full of very close friends – who somehow
ended up sitting behind me giving me a "we've got your back" feeling – my voice
breaking, tears flowing, I somehow managed to get all that hurt out.
Having witnessed countless of these as a reporter, I had
gone prepared for the worst. I imagined him smirking, smiling; maybe even
laughing at me as I cried. I also imagined him not even looking at me as I
spoke and showed pictures that highlighted the damage done by his drug-fueled
actions. So many criminals don't even look at their victims. I had seen it so
But much to my surprise, he did look at me. He listened
attentively, looked at every picture I showed and when I started to cry, so did
I didn't expect it – no one in the courtroom did.
He chose not to speak so I don't know why he cried or if he
felt remorse at his actions. I know it wasn't for the court's sympathy since
this too was a plea agreement and nothing would change the sentence we had all
A friend in court suggested he was probably crying because
he realized he was going away for a long, long time. Maybe.
I'll never really know. I do know that his tears and that
small act of common courtesy – looking at me as I spoke - helped in the
healing. It helped a lot.
And while I had seen so many of these courtroom dramas
before, now that I have lived thru my own, I will never look at them the same
Today I watched as Bryan Stow's family bravely stood there
and spoke for him since he no longer can.
You would have had to have been made of stone to not feel
the pain in their words as they detailed what the once healthy and vibrant
father of two's life is now; locked in a wheelchair, in a body that no longer
responds the same way. Unable to play ball with his kids; unable to perform the
simplest and most private of functions by himself.
It was very sad and my heart hurt for them.
But so much worse was what was happening in front of them
as the man who had just pleaded GUILTY and I capitalize that because it is key
here: GUILTY to beating Bryan Stow, their loved one into permanent disability
and forever changing all of their lives sat there and smiled.
And looked away as if he had more pressing things to do;
more important places to be.
Yes, that's what Louie Sanchez did. Repeatedly.
His co-defendant Marvin Norwood, who also pleaded guilty to
a lesser charge, at least showed some respect by looking at the family as they
spoke. He made no gestures and as far as I could see, paid attention as each
Back to Sanchez, whom the judge repeatedly called a coward,
and from whom there were no signs of remorse; common courtesy; humanity. None.
Not a single gesture to indicate that he was sorry and that
might have helped just a little bit in the healing process.
Perhaps Bryan's sister Erin put it best when she said "How
can we even begin to consider forgiveness when you aren't even asking for it?"
(FOX 11 / AP) Two men who pleaded guilty to the 2011 beating of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow at Dodger Stadium have been sentenced in Los Angeles.
Judge George Lomeli excoriated smirking convict Louie Sanchez and handed him an eight-year state prison term Thursday, with some credit for time served.
Co-defendant Marvin Norwood received a four-year sentence. He also received credit for time already spent in custody and it was unclear if he would be immediately released.
Stow was left permanently disabled by the beating.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
Two men pleaded guilty Thursday to a 2011 beating at Dodger Stadium that left San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow brain damaged and disabled.
Defendant Marvin Norwood pleaded guilty to one count of assault likely to produce great bodily injury. Co-defendant Louie Sanchez, saying he kicked and punched Stow, pleaded guilty to one count of mayhem that disabled and disfigured the victim.
Both were to be sentenced after a judge heard victim impact statements.
Stow, a 45-year-old paramedic from Santa Cruz who attended the 2011 opening day game in Los Angeles between the Dodgers and the Giants, was beaten nearly to death in a parking lot after the game. He suffered brain damage and is permanently disabled, requiring 24-hour-a-day care.
The beating prompted public outrage and led to increased security at Dodgers' games. A civil suit by Stow is pending against the Dodgers organization and former owner Frank McCourt.
Sanchez and Norwood were arrested after a lengthy manhunt that briefly involved the arrest of an innocent man. The two acknowledged their involvement during a series of secretly recorded jailhouse conversations.
Norwood was recorded telling his own mother by phone that he was involved and saying, "I will certainly go down for it."
The words the two men spoke in a jail lockup, unaware they were being recorded, were played at a preliminary hearing as they were ordered to stand trial on charges of mayhem and assault and battery.
In a 12-minute conversation, Sanchez acknowledged he attacked a Giants fan, and Norwood said he had no regrets about backing him up.
"I socked him, jumped him and started beating him," a transcript of the conversation quoted Sanchez, who also apologized to Norwood for dragging him into the fight.
"That happens, bro," said Norwood. "I mean, what kind of man would I have been if I hadn't jumped in and tried to help you."
Witnesses testified about the parking lot confrontation, saying Stow was jumped from behind and his head crashed to the pavement.
Witnesses at the hearing said Sanchez taunted Giants fans throughout the game.
Two witnesses who attended the March 31, 2011, game told of being bothered by Sanchez, who was throwing peanuts and spraying soda on a woman in the bleachers. His sister testified that Sanchez was drunk.
Corey Maciel, a fellow paramedic who came with Stow from Northern California to cheer for the Giants, told of seeing his friend attacked and throwing his own body over him to prevent further harm.
"As soon as he was punched, he was unconscious and fell back on his head," Maciel testified. "He was unable to brace himself. I saw his head bounce off the concrete. I heard the crack."
The assailant then kicked Stow in the head at least three times and again in the torso, according to the testimony.
Maciel said he heard profanities and one person say, "(expletive) the Giants. That's what you get."
"I threw my body over Bryan's head to stop any more physical contact," Maciel said.
Another friend, also a paramedic, held the injured Stow's head to protect his spine. But he had already suffered devastating injuries.
Last spring, Stow returned home after two years in hospitals and rehabilitation centers. His family said he requires constant physical therapy and remains severely disabled.