A reluctant Dorene Sanchez took the stand this afternoon to testify in the preliminary hearing that will determine whether or not her brother, Louie Sanchez, and her fiancé, Marvin Norwood, will face trial for assault and mayhem in the beating of Bryan Stow.
Dorene Sanchez allegedly drove the “getaway vehicle” for the two men, and was granted “use immunity” for her testimony in the preliminary hearing—which means that if she’s prosecuted for a crime, her testimony here cannot be used as evidence against her, so long as she’s truthful. She told the court she testified because she had been subpoenaed, not because she wanted to.
Sanchez’s testimony started with the beginning of the Opening Day game at Dodger Stadium on March 31, 2011, which she said she drove to and attended with the defendants and Louie’s now 11-year-old son, also named Louie (but called “Baby Louie” and “Porky” by his family).
Sanchez testified that her brother was “rude, loud” to nearby Giants fans during the game, yelling obscenities, throwing peanuts and sunflower seeds, and at one point dousing a nearby female Giants fan with soda. Sanchez, with prompting from prosecutors, testified that she saw the woman’s boyfriend and Sanchez almost get into a fight, at which point she asked Norwood to break it up, which he did.
After the game, Sanchez testified, her brother was “under the influence, tipsy.” When asked by prosecutors whether her brother’s behavior is generally aggressive, Sanchez replied, “when drinking, yes.”
Sanchez described the post-game scene at her car, where she was “people watching” with Baby Louie while Louie Sanchez and Norwood “hung out” by the trunk of the car, while waiting for traffic to die down. Dorene Sanchez said she heard a commotion, looked over, and saw Norwood extracting her brother from a scrum of Giants fans. When the fans walked by, Dorene said one of them, who was stumbling and leaning on his friend for support said, “It’s just a game. It’s not that serious. It’s not like a heart attack.”
When her brother came up to her afterward, Sanchez says he was “upset” and told her they were “talking [expletive].” When she said, “Yeah, they were talking [expletive] here, too,” she says Louie took off in the direction of the fans, followed by Norwood.
She said when they returned four or five minutes later, they got in the car and Norwood told her , “babe, just drive, drive, drive.”
Dorene Sanchez testified that she knew little about what happened that night. In the car, the men were not talkative and she said she didn’t push the issue. Later in the week, when her and Norwood were cooking dinner, news came on about Bryan Stow. Sanchez said, “we just kind of looked at it in awe—like wow, look what just happened—and felt bad for the guy.” She testified Norwood at that point said, “’Babe, you know that night your brother was getting jumped? If I hadn’t gotten there in time, he probably would have gotten, you know, his butt kicked.’”
Prosecutors also released a recording today of a phone call between Dorene Sanchez and Norwood, who is behind bars. On the tape, the two discuss the night of the game. “We got into a fight,” he says. “I don’t think it was that guy…. I’m thinking it was a completely different fight. They were jumping Louie. “
He went on to say that “detectives are trying to make Louie look like a monster.”
The preliminary hearing resumes Friday at 10:30am. It’s expected to conclude after Sanchez finishes her testimony. Also of note, the judge, at this point, is withholding from the media the transcript of a jailhouse conversation between the two defendants.