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Defendants in the Bryan Stow beating case sit in court during preliminary hearing in Los Angeles

Two Southern California men are expected to plead guilty in a Los Angeles courtroom Thursday morning in connection with the 2011 beating outside Dodger Stadium that left a San Francisco Giants fan with brain damage — a vicious assault that highlighted security shortcomings at the famed ballpark and stunned baseball fans around the country.

Law enforcement sources familiar with the case told NBC News that under the proposed plea agreement, Louie Sanchez, 31, and Marvin Norwood, 32, are expected to be sentenced to eight years and four years, respectively, in state prison for their roles in the assault on Bryan Stow, a Santa Cruz, Calif., paramedic and father of two. Each of the men is expected to face a federal weapons charge after serving their sentences.

Stow’s family was expected to appear before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli to provide victim-impact statements. Stow, 44, who continues to suffer from seizures and other complications as a result of the crime, will remain at home, where he is receiving medical care.

Image: Dodger Stadium beating victim Bryan Stow, center.BECK DIEFENBACH / REUTERS FILE
An image of Dodger Stadium beating victim Bryan Stow, center, is shown on the scoreboard before a MLB National League baseball game between San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals in San Francisco in April 2011.

The beating, which took place after the opening day matchup between the Dodgers and Giants on March 31, 2011, gained national attention and led to harsh criticism of then-Dodgers owner Frank McCourt over deteriorating security in and around the stadium. Just over seven months later McCourt — his hand forced by Major League Baseball — sold the club for $2 billion to Guggenheim Baseball Management.

The Stow case also fueled criticism of the Los Angeles Police Department, which initially arrested parolee Giovanni Ramirez for the crime but later acknowledged there was no concrete evidence linking him to the assault. Detectives with the department’s Robbery-Homicide Division, who did not initially investigate the case, were brought in and, after re-examining clues and re-interviewing witnesses, developed evidence that led to the arrests of Sanchez and Norwood.

The men were charged with multiple felonies, including mayhem and assault. Witnesses later testified at preliminary hearing that Sanchez was drunk and looking to brawl with Giants fans seated near him during the game, which he attended with the co-defendant, his then 11-year-old son and sister Dorene Sanchez, who also was Norwood’s girlfriend.

 Defendants in the Bryan Stow beating case sit in court during preliminary hearing in Los AngelesIRFAN KHAN / POOL VIA REUTERS FILE

Defendant Marvin Norwood, right, his attorney Victor Escobedo and co-defendant Louie Sanchez, foreground, sit in court during their preliminary hearing in the Bryan Stow beating case on June 8, 2012.

Sanchez was throwing peanut shells and sunflower seeds at Giants fans inside the ballpark as well as swearing at them, according to authorities and witnesses. Authorities said Sanchez took swing at another unidentified Giants fan in the parking lot after the game. There also was an initial encounter between the defendants and Stow’s group of four paramedics, in which Sanchez shoved Stow and punched his friend in the face when he tried to step between the men, authorities said.

Both groups separated and moved on, according to authorities. But a short time later, investigators said Dorene Sanchez pointed in the direction of Stow and alleged that his group had made derogatory comments. Moments later, authorities said, Sanchez attacked Stow from behind, then Norwood joined in.

According to court documents presented in 2012, Stow suffered a skull fracture that resulted in the loss of a portion of his skull as well as damage to his brain. The court papers said Stow was “unable to walk, has loss of motor skills in his arms and hands, is unable to carry on a normal conversation, unable to control his bodily functions and unable to care for himself due to diffuse, severe, traumatic brain injury.”

Corey Maciel, a friend and colleague of Stow, testified during a five-day preliminary hearing that Stow was subjected to “full wind-up” kicks to the head after being knocked to the ground with a “haymaker punch.” He said another man kicked him repeatedly mid-section. Another witness, Mary Dolores Donley, testified that she went to the opener with friends and family. She heard his head hit the ground before turning to see Stow being kicked in the head.

In all, more than a dozen witnesses told the court about Sanchez’s actions in and outside the ballpark but none could positively identify either defendant as delivering the blows.

Defense attorneys seized on the lack of identification and the arrest of Giovanni Ramirez, who served time in state prison on an unrelated parole violation that had nothing to do with the Stow beating, as highlighting weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.

Some of the most damaging evidence came from the defendant’s own words while he was in a LAPD jail cell, waiting be placed in a witness line-up. In one instance, he spoke about how the police “know everything,” and appeared to acknowledge that he attacked Stow for disrespecting his loved ones.

First published February 20th 2014, 12:22 am

Andrew Blankstein

Girl has brain injury, police say

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — Two teenagers were arrested Friday and charged with the sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl.

Police in Portsmouth said one of the teens gave alcohol to the 14-year old girl and then sexually assaulted her. The other teen faces lesser charges, including reckless conduct.

Investigators said the girl, who has a brain injury, was attacked in August of last year. Police said she was given brandy before being sexually assaulted twice.

Derry resident Vincent Pittore, 18, was charged with aggravated felonious sexual assault.

Police also issued an arrest warrant for 19-year old Zachary Patterson from Raymond, accusing him of several misdemeanors, including transporting alcohol and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Lt. Mark Newton of the Portsmouth police said the search for Patterson ended when he showed up at the police station.

“Mr. Patterson came to the police department and turned himself in on the warrant that we had for his arrest,” Newton said.

The two teens were driving together around Portsmouth when the girl was reportedly attacked, police said. Newport said they are not releasing many details of the alleged assault, or whether the suspects know the victim.

“It’s has been an ongoing investigation, we’d been looking for them, gone to the press and media to try to find their whereabouts,” said Newton.

The teenager accused of the sexual assault told the judge he did not commit a crime. Both suspects are behind bars and due back in court next week.

Seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher  CBS

PARIS — Seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher was in critical condition after undergoing brain surgery following a weekend skiing accident that has stunned drivers, fans and athletes around the world.

The Grenoble University Hospital Center said the retired racing driver arrived at the clinic in a coma on Sunday and underwent immediate surgery for a serious head trauma.

It was not clear whether the 44-year-old Schumacher was still in a coma but the hospital statement, which was signed by a neurosurgeon, an anesthesiologist and Marc Penaud, the hospital’s deputy director, said “he remains in a critical condition.”

Schumacher fell while skiing off-piste in Meribel in the French Alps on Sunday morning and hit his head on a rock, according to a statement from the resort. Resort managers said he had been wearing a helmet and was conscious when rescuers first responded to the scene.

The Meribel resort initially said Schumacher had been taken to Grenoble for tests and authorities said his life was not in danger.

But the situation began to appear more serious when the resort said that orthopedic and trauma surgeon Gerard Saillant had traveled from Paris to the hospital in Grenoble to examine Schumacher. German news agency dpa said it was Saillant who operated on Schumacher when he broke his leg during a crash at the Silverstone race course in 1999.

In an email to The Associated Press, Schumacher’s manager, Sabine Kehm, said the champion German driver was on a private skiing trip and “fell on his head.”

“We ask for understanding that we cannot give running updates on his condition. He wore a helmet and was not alone,” Kehm said. Schumacher’s 14-year-old son, Mick, was skiing with his father when the accident happened, the resort said.

ESPN F1 reported that Schumacher’s wife and children were at the hospital, along with Jean Todt, his former Ferrari team boss and now president of motorsport’s governing body, the FIA. Ross Brawn, who worked with Schumacher at Ferrari and Mercedes F1 teams, was reportedly also at the hospital, where a gathering of media and fans was swelling.

As news of the accident spread, Formula One drivers used social media to wish Schumacher a quick recovery.

His former Ferrari teammate, Felipe Massa, who himself recovered from life-threatening head injuries sustained at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2009, wrote on Instagram, “I am praying for you my brother!! I hope you have a quick recovery!! God bless you Michael.”

British former world champion Jenson Button said posted that his “thoughts are with Michael Schumacher at this tough time. … Michael more than anyone has the strength to pull through this.”

Romain Grosjean of Lotus tweeted: “All our thoughts to Schumi and his family! Hope you will recover soon #legend #Schumi.”

Support also came from leading German sports personalities, ranging from the NBA to soccer. Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki said his thoughts were with Schumacher, while Lukas Podolski, who plays for Arsenal in the English Premier League, tweeted: “Bad news from Switzerland: please get well soon, Michael Schumacher. All the best for you, my friend! #getwellsoon #MichaelSchumacher.”

Boris Becker, the retired tennis champion now working with Novak Djokovic, posted: “Let us all pray for realschumacher michael for a full and speedy recovery!!!”

In addition to the crash at Silverstone, Schumacher was hurt seriously in a motorcycling accident in February 2009 in Spain when he suffered neck and spine injuries. Those injuries prevented him making a shock comeback that year to stand in for the injured Massa, however he came back to the sport full time in 2010.

Schumacher is the most successful driver in Formula One history, with seven drivers’ championships and 91 race wins. After initial success with the Benetton team, he moved to Ferrari and helped turn the Italian team into the sport’s dominant force. After initially retiring in 2006, he made a comeback in 2010 and raced for three years with Mercedes