One of two men convicted in the 2011 Dodger Stadium beating that left San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow with permanent brain damage begged a federal judge for “mercy” in assigning prison time for an unrelated firearms crime, but nonetheless will see more years behind bars.
Louie Sanchez, 32, was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to six years in federal prison for being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, a charge that he pleaded guilty to in late January, according to a Department of Justice spokesman.
“I want to apologize to everyone that my actions have effected in anyway at all," Sanchez wrote to a federal judge last month. "I pray the court to show mercy.”
Along with his friend and co-defendant Marvin Norwood, Sanchez came to notoriety for the opening day beating of Santa Cruz paramedic Stow, a father of two who was left disabled and under daily medical care.
Both men pleaded guilty in that case in February 2014, and Sanchez appeared to smirk during the proceedings, drawing the ire of the judge, who said he showed no remorse and had "no civility."
“Oh, you’re smiling?” Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli said. “It’s funny?”
In state court, Sanchez was sentenced to eight years for a mayhem charge in the beating; Norwood received a four-year sentence for assault. Sanchez was seeking to serve out any federal sentence for the firearms violations at the same time as his state sentence.
In a hand-written letter to U.S. District Court Judge Fernando Olguin, dated April 16, Sanchez wrote that he is a different man now, and said he hoped the judge would take that into consideration and sentence him to a concurrent term.
The judge indeed sentenced him to a concurrent term, with the six years' sentence beginning Thursday, the Justice Department spokesman said. Sanchez has about three years remaining on his Stow beating conviction and was expected to serve that time in state prison.
Sanchez will then serve three more years in federal prison, the Justice Department spokesman said.
In his letter, Sanchez said he prayed that the court would “look beyond” his actions in the Dodger Stadium parking lot.
His sister and son had an altercation, he said, and the “fear on both of their faces” prompted him to fall into “the heat of passion.”
“The outcome of the situation I don’t wish upon nobody,” Sanchez wrote. “Unfortunately Mr. Stow got hurt and I send my deepest sympathy to Mr. Stow and his family. This unexpected event was an accident.”
The federal charges stem from a July 2011 search of Norwood's home in Rialto, where authorities found multiple semiautomatic weapons, other firearms and ammunition, according to the federal criminal complaint. Norwood told investigators he had allowed Sanchez to store the guns in his garage attic.
The two men, both convicted felons, were charged with federal weapon violations.
The firearms, Sanchez wrote in his letter to the judge, belonged to him and were under his control at all times. Nonetheless, he wrote the he regretted having bought the firearms, and mourned losing precious time with his son, now a high-schooler.
“I should have known better because I was raised better and there is no one else to blame but myself,” Sanchez wrote. “I like to think that I am not a bad man.”
Sanchez's parents, son and several friends also submitted sentencing letters to the judge.
A federal prosecutor had sought 95 months, or nearly eight years, in federal prison for Sanchez, according to court documents.
Sanchez’s prior convictions include felony evasion of an officer in 2006 and domestic violence in 2003. He was first detained at age 16 for willful discharge of a firearm in 1998, and was arrested multiple times for drunken driving, court records indicate.
Norwood has not yet been sentenced for the federal gun crime, but prosecutors are seeking only 4 1/2 years for him, according to the Associated Press, which first reported on the Sanchez letter. His sentencing was set for May 21.
In a civil case, the Dodgers in July were found partially liable for the Stow beating. Sanchez and Norwood were found to be responsible for most of the harm that came to Stow.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Sanchez's sentencing was postponed. In fact, only Norwood's was postponed.