Bryan Stow beating suspects 'looking for trouble,' witness says
It was around the second inning of the Dodgers' home opener last year when Griffith McDaniel said he first felt a peanut hit his back.
McDaniel attended the March 31 game with two friends and his girlfriend, Kathryn Gillespie. Surrounded by Dodger Blue on the third-base side of the stadium, McDaniel and Gillespie stood out in their San Francisco Giants attire.
As more peanuts began to fly — "falling around us, hitting us sporadically" — McDaniel said he looked over and saw a man sitting across the aisle "looking at me after [they were] thrown, laughing."
The man, McDaniel testified in Superior Court in Los Angeles on Wednesday, was 30-year-old Louie Sanchez.
Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, 31, are the two men charged with mayhem, assault and battery in the brutal beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow at Dodger Stadium last year. Stow, a 43-year-old father of two, suffered serious head trauma in the attack and remains in a therapeutic facility.
The two defendants appeared in court Wednesday for the first day of a preliminary hearing that will determine whether there is enough evidence for them to stand trial.
In previous court filings, prosecutors alleged that the defendants were aggressive throughout the game and pushed another fan as they walked out of the stadium into the parking lot, where they ran into Stow.
On Wednesday, seven witnesses said Sanchez appeared inebriated during the game and heckled McDaniel and Gillespie.
At one point, McDaniel said, a fight broke out several rows ahead of his seats. He thought he heard Sanchez make a comment as the group watched.
"I thought it was something along the lines of, 'You're next,'" McDaniel said.
The harassment reached a high point, however, after the last pitch of the game, when witnesses said Sanchez sprayed the couple with soda.
"We felt the liquid landing on us," McDaniel said. "We were soaked."
McDaniel said he turned around "immediately" and saw Sanchez standing in the aisle spraying the soda. McDaniel leapt to his feet and the two men walked toward each other.
"That's when I knew a fight was going to break out," Gillespie said.
Gillespie said she moved in front of her boyfriend to push him away as Norwood grabbed Sanchez. McDaniel said he and Sanchez stared at each other for "about 30 seconds," but no physical confrontation occurred.
Instead, other fans ushered the couple away from Sanchez and Norwood. Carlos Adane was one of them.
"They were just thugs," he said of Sanchez and Norwood. "They were looking for trouble."
Gillespie said her group "just wanted to leave the situation and get out of there safely."
“And is that what you did?” Deputy Dist. Atty. Beth Silverman asked.
“Yes,” Gillespie said. “We just went in our own direction and never looked back.”
The preliminary hearing will continue Thursday.
— Kate Mather
Photo: Defendant Louie Sanchez, left, appears in Los Angeles County Superior Court with an attorney on Wednesday. Seven witnesses said Sanchez was rowdy throughout the game, throwing peanuts and yelling obscenities at a pair of Giants fans. Credit: Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times