Former baseball manager Yogi Berra uttered the immortal words "deja vu all over again," and, well, you have to wonder if that phrase applies to the prosecution of two men accused in the near-fatal beating of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow at Dodger Stadium.
Reports from today's proceedings in court, in which 29-year-old Louie Sanchez and 30-year-old Marvin Norwood pleaded not guilty in the opening-day attack, indicate that only one of 20 eyewitnesses to the beating identified Sanchez. None apparently had ID'd Norwwood.
Why deja vu? Well, you remember the case of one Giovanni Ramirez:
He's the purported gang-banger originally fingered in the case, whom cops said was ID by at least some wits.
But, as it turned out, the cholo with the short hair had an alibi, passed lie detector tests, and ultimately, cops said, didn't do it.
After going over the case and reinterviewing witnesses, cops came up with Sanchez and Norwood, with Sanchez's sister implicated as a possible getaway driver in the attack.
But once again authorities are hitting snags in a case in which public and political pressure to find the bad guys has been intense.
Prosecutors say they don't need to stinkin' witnesses: They got the guys confessing to it. But the pair's attorney, Gilbert Quinones, told KNX 1070 Newsradio that he'll challenge any testimony by jailhouse informants.
In fact a bill in the state legislature would limit such testimony anyway. Turns out it can put the wrong people behind bars when informants say whatever is necessary to get out of jail or get their sentences reduced.
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Prosecutor Frank Santoro said indicated guilt was also admitted in "formal interviews" with cops and that "identification is no longer an issue."
But the prosecution recently lost a key witness, Stow pal Matthew Lee, who died after eating nuts that triggered a fatal allergic reaction.
Sanchez and Norwood, neighbors in lovely Rialto, are charged with mayhem, assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury and battery with serious bodily injury. They were being held in lieu of half a million bail.