Norwood and his brother-in-law, Louie Sanchez, are accused of pummeling Stow into a coma -- as well as slitting his nose, ears and lip; disabling his tongue; and putting out his eye.
Now, Erik McKinney, a Redlands resident, tells the Weekly that Norwood has been his foreman at two different construction companies over the last four years. "Marv is Marv," he says...
"I don't know how to describe it. ... When he drinks, he's the center of attention. Everybody loves Marv."
But McKinney also explains that his friend and co-worker has a "protective" side that's better not to mess with.
"Marv's a big guy," he says. (6-foot-4-inches and 250 pounds, according to the suspect's cousin.) "He's tough -- he's got that tough personality. Somebody would be crazy to try and start something. He won't go after you unless you provoke him, but he will stand his ground."
In the months following the tragic Opening Day attack, some attention has been directed toward Stow's own temper. TMZ released a video of him arguing with a Dodgers fan in the stands earlier that night, and a copy of his criminal record shows Stow has "an assault conviction for allegedly hitting a spouse, and a DUI conviction that involved drugs, not alcohol." (In response, his family released a statement saying "in the 20 years since [the convictions], Bryan turned his life around; became a father and settled into a career of helping people. Regardless of his history, he in NO way deserved this.")For Norwood to have attacked Stow, in McKinney's opinion, "Bryan would probably have to really say something -- really provoke him or really lead him on."
LAPD sources have told the Los Angeles Times that Norwood and Sanchez were arrested after bragging about the beating to co-workers. But McKinney says that because Norwood knows him to be a principled Christian man, the suspect would have known not to say anything.
Most eerily, McKinney describes a moment, on his way to an Inglewood construction site in Norwood's truck, when he brought up the Stow assault -- a hot news item at the time.
"As we were talking, I mentioned, 'Hey, have you heard what happened?'" says McKinney. "He didn't say a whole lot, so I wasn't alerted." But when McKinney told Norwood he thought police had only arrested former beating suspect Giovanni Ramirez "because he was a felon," he says Norwood started laughing.
The suspect's criminal record shows he has been arrested in San Bernardino County five times -- once for spousal abuse. Still, McKinney says Norwood "loved his girl" more than anything. (As in, Dorene Sanchez, who was also arrested last Thursday, on suspicion of driving the beating suspects' getaway car.)
Later, though, McKinney mentions that he would "never trust him alone with my wife."
On the Weekly's comment board yesterday, McKinney wrote that Norwood has "always been rowdy." Still, he said it was "really hard to beleive he cut someone up period....no way.....better have some real evidence."
Now, he tells us of the accused: "He's got balls, but he's been more of a protector. ... He can stand his ground. If you provoke him, man -- it's like damn, dude, don't do it, because you're asking for trouble."
McKinney's still in disbelief. He asks where Norwood is being held, in hopes he might visit his old friend, and deliver him a copy of the Bible.