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Friend describes Bryan Stow getting blindsided with hay-maker punch before hitting the ground, unconscious

Bryan Stow, escorted by his neurosurgeon Dr. Gabriel Zada and medical staff, is taken from Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center to Bob Hope Airport for a trip to San Francisco General Hospital last year.
Bryan Stow, escorted by his neurosurgeon Dr. Gabriel Zada and medical staff, is taken from Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center to Bob Hope Airport for a trip to San Francisco General Hospital last year.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Corey Maciel paused to collect himself while testifying in the preliminary hearing that will determine whether there’s enough evidence to send Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood to trial for beating Bryan Stow outside Dodger stadium March 31, 2011. Maciel, a San Francisco Giants' fan, attended the game with Stow and two other friends. What allegedly happened afterward in the parking lot left Stow with brain trauma. 

Maciel said his friend and coworker’s head was the first thing to hit the ground after a man in a white Dodgers jersey and blue Dodgers hat ran up beside him and delivered a “tight, hay-maker punch” to Stow’s head. (“Hay-maker” is a boxing term, used to describe a hit that uses a boxer’s whole body behind it to add force.) Maciel said the assailant kicked Stow three times in the head after he fell. Prosecutors have accused Louie Sanchez of being that man. His co-defendant, Marvin Norwood, is also accused of participating in the beating.

In Maciel’s account, a second, taller man (who prosecutors say was Norwood) had verbally confronted Stow, whose back was to the man who ran up and punched him. Maciel said the taller man then obstructed his path as Maciel tried to run to his friend’s aid. Maciel also described the taller man kicking Stow in the ribs as he lay in the parking lot. Maciel said he and another companion, Jeff Bradford, both ran to Stow and shielded him with their bodies. He said the assailants left at some point, after apparently being pulled away or summoned by someone.

Under cross-examination, Norwood’s defense attorney, Victor Escobedo, pointed out that Maciel had given at least two prior interviews in which he didn’t mention the taller man kicking Stow. (Update: Prosecutors later showed that in his initial interview the night of the incident, Maciel told police the taller man had also kicked Stow.)

On the 911 call tape played in court Wednesday morning, Maciel’s voice was anxious as he described his friend’s state to a dispatcher.

“He’s bleeding out of his left ear,” Maciel, like Stow, a paramedic, said on the call. “His respiratory reading is decreasing.” Maciel went on to say that Stow was not responding to stimuli and he was “snoring.”

Asked by dispatch who punched Stow, Maciel said, “It was a Dodger fan in a Dodger Jersey. There’s no way to ID him .If I saw him, I could recognize him.”

Identifying the two accused as the actual assailants will be key for prosecutors if the case is to proceed. Defense attorneys, who began their crossexamination before the hearing broke for lunch, had just begun to question Maciel on the number, ethnicity, and dress of Dodgers fans they encountered throughout that day. Witnesses, including Maciel, have described that game as a hostile place for Giants fans, during which they were yelled at and hit with food in the All You Can Eat section of the stadium. Photos of the day show Maciel and Stow wearing Giants gear. 

Maciel said the four men were walking through the parking lot after the game and were heckled by Dodger fans. Maciel said Stow, not speaking to any one in particular, said "I hope they code," about the hecklers. Code is a paramedic term for cardiac arrest. According to Maciel, a 5'9"-11" man with a goatee pushed Stow and said, "what the [expletive] did you say, hommie?"

Maciel said he and Stow kept walking along with their friends, not next to each other, for about 4 or 5 minutes, thinking the confrontation was over, when they were confronted by the same men and the main alleged assault took place.

The hearing will resume at 1:30pm.


Much of the afternoon's testimony came from two women who said they were leaving the parking lot with a third friend as the main incident occurred. The first, Monique Alexandra Gonzalez, said she had her windows rolled down while stuck in parking lot traffic when she thought she saw a fight brewing. She said two Dodger fans looked ready to fight. She said she heard Bryan Stow say, "leave us alone. It's just a game. We're going to go home," before getting hit in the face.

None of the three witnesses today were asked whether Norwood and Sanchez, seated in the courtroom, were the men they saw assault Stow. 

The hearing will resume Thursday morning at 10:30.