Two men pleaded guilty on Thursday in the 2011 beating of Bryan Stow, a San Francisco Giants fan who was attacked outside Dodger Stadium and left with permanent brain injuries.
The attack led to a public uproar over security at Dodger Stadium, where fans said the atmosphere had been deteriorating for years, with drunks and gang members making up a growing portion of the crowds. The Los Angeles Police Department soon beefed up its presence at the ballpark.
In Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday, Louie Sanchez, 31, pleaded guilty to mayhem and was sentenced to eight years in state prison; Marvin Norwood, 33, was sentenced to four years for assault.
Prosecutors described Mr. Sanchez as the instigator in a series of attacks on March 31, 2011, that began inside the stadium, where he threw peanuts and a soda at fans in Giants gear. In the parking lot after the game, he confronted Mr. Stow, who was wearing a Giants jersey. After Mr. Stow and his friends walked away, Mr. Sanchez ran up behind him and hit him in the side of the head with his fist.
The blow knocked Mr. Stow unconscious, causing him to fall and hit his head hard on the ground with what witnesses described as a horrifying noise. As he lay motionless, Mr. Sanchez set on him, kicking him several times in the head.
It was not clear whether Mr. Norwood, who had spent much of the day trying to stop Mr. Sanchez from fighting, ever laid a hand on Mr. Stow, but he blocked Mr. Stow’s friends from helping as Mr. Sanchez kicked him, said Michele Hanisee, a deputy district attorney who prosecuted the case.
Before attacking Mr. Stow, Mr. Sanchez also punched a teenager wearing Giants gear, as well as one of Mr. Stow’s friends, prosecutors said.
“You are the biggest nightmare for individuals that attend public events such as sporting events or concerts,” Judge George G. Lomeli said to the defendants before handing down their sentences. “I have to comment on the manner of attack, which was absolutely brutal, absolutely vicious and absolutely, in my opinion, cowardice.”
As Judge Lomeli spoke, Mr. Sanchez smiled, and the judge admonished him.
“Oh, you’re smiling—you think it’s funny,” Judge Lomeli said. “You show no remorse whatsoever.”
After the attack, Mr. Stow, a father of two who worked as a paramedic, spent months in a medically induced coma. He is now 45, and his family takes care of him as he continues rehabilitation from the severe brain injuries he received.