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Photos of Bryan Stow beating suspects draw disagreement

This image shows the former Facebook page of Marvin Norwood, a defendant in the Bryan Stow beating case. Click to view more photos.

As the case against the two men charged in the beating of a fan at Dodger Stadium moved this week from an LAPD investigation into a criminal prosecution by the Los Angeles County district attorney, the two agencies differed on whether to release images of the accused men.

On Monday, Los Angeles police announced plans to distribute mug shots of Marvin Norwood and Louie Sanchez, who were arrested and charged last week with felony assault and mayhem for the March 31 attack on San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow.

Photos: The beating of Bryan Stow

One of the men also faces lesser battery charges for aggressive behavior toward two other people at the game. The LAPD does not always publish photos of arrested suspects.

In some cases, investigators want the images released in hopes they will spur witnesses or others with information about the suspects to come forward.

By publishing photographs of Norwood and Sanchez, police had hoped fans who witnessed the men’s behavior at the game would contact investigators, said LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith.

However, shortly before the news conference the LAPD had called to release the photos, the district attorney’s office contacted police and insisted the photos not be published. Police officials hastily canceled their plans.

District attorney’s office spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said prosecutors asked police not to release the men’s booking photographs after a judge earlier that day denied media requests to photograph the defendants during their first court appearance.

“We notified the police that because the case has been filed, we’re now all part of a prosecutorial team,” Gibbons said. “It would have been, if not a direct violation of a court order, at least violating the spirit of a court order.... We asked them not to release the photos and so they didn’t.”

Smith downplayed the disagreement, saying, “We are working together. They have their reasons as far as the prosecution is concerned and we have our reasons for wanting the photos out there. We’ll just have to try different avenues to continue working on the case.”

In a high-profile case such as this one, which has generated intense public interest, the judge’s ban on cameras and the decision to quash the release of the mug shots have meant the public has had few opportunities to lay eyes on the two defendants.

The Times is publishing a page formerly displayed on Norwood’s Facebook account that includes a photograph showing Norwood and Dorene Sanchez.

Sanchez, who is Louie Sanchez’s sister and Norwood’s wife or long-term partner, also was arrested in connection to the case but was released. Charges against her are pending, police said.

A law enforcement official close to the investigation reviewed the photo and confirmed it is of Norwood, 30, and Sanchez, 31.

Sanchez attended the game with the men and drove them from the parking lot after the attack, according to police sources. It is not known whether she witnessed the beating.

The game at which the photo was taken was not the opening day game at which Stow was attacked, the law enforcement official said. In the photo, Norwood is seen wearing a Dodgers hat, sweatshirt and t-shirt.

Shortly after The Times reported Thursday evening that Norwood and Louie Sanchez had been arrested, Norwood’s Facebook account was edited to remove the photograph from public view.

Dorene Sanchez’s attorney, Daniel Nardoni, said he could not comment on whether his client has cooperated with authorities or what happened at the game other than to say that she was at the stadium but was not involved in the assault.

“She had nothing to do with the unfortunate attack on Bryan Stow,” he said.

Norwood and Louie Sanchez, 29, each are being held on $500,000 bail. Their arraignments were postponed until Aug. 10.

Stow, 42, a paramedic and father of two children, has remained hospitalized since the attack. Doctors believe he has suffered brain damage.

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-- Joel Rubin and Jack Leonard
twitter.com/joelrubin
twitter.com/jackfleonard

Photo: This image shows the former Facebook page of Marvin Norwood, a defendant in the Bryan Stow beating case. Police have confirmed that the photo shows Marvin Norwood and Dorene Sanchez, who was arrested in connection with the case and later released. Norwood has been charged with assault in the attack on Stow, which occurred after the Dodgers opening day game against the Giants.

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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