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Two men charged with Dodger Stadium beating

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Two men newly arrested in the savage beating of a San Francisco Giants fan outside Dodger Stadium were charged on Friday with assault and battery, while an ex-convict jailed two months ago as a suspect was officially exonerated.

The turning point in a case that drew national headlines and stymied the Los Angeles Police Department for weeks came as the family of Bryan Stow, 42, who was left in a coma by the beating, said he was finally showing signs of improvement.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Police Chief Charlie Beck waited until after prosecutors had formally charged the two men arrested on Thursday to confirm at a news conference that the latest suspects were in custody.

"The process has worked," Villaraigosa said.

Louis Sanchez, 29, and Marvin Norwood, 30, both of Rialto, about 50 miles east of Los Angeles, are slated for arraignment on Monday. They were held in lieu of $500,000 bail each.

The district attorney's office said both men were charged with mayhem, assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury and battery with serious bodily injury -- all felonies collectively punishable by up to eight years in prison.

Sanchez was also charged with two misdemeanor counts of battering stemming from a separate incident the same day. He faces another year behind bars if convicted of those charges.

Authorities said a woman was also arrested in the case but has not been charged. She was identified by the Los Angeles Times as Dorene Sanchez, 31, believed to be Louis Sanchez's sister and the wife or girlfriend of Norwood.

Investigators concluded that the convicted felon originally arrested as a suspect, Giovanni Ramirez, 31, a documented gang member, was not involved in the attack.

"I want to tell the world, Giovanni Ramirez is no longer a suspect in this case," Beck said. "It is just as important to exonerate the innocent as it is to implicate the guilty."

Ramirez, arrested on the basis of a tip from a parole officer in what police then called a major break in the case, was never charged with the beating. But he was sent back to prison for 10 months on a parole violation stemming from the discovery of a gun in the apartment where he was staying.

His lawyer and family have steadfastly maintained his innocence, saying he was not at the stadium at the time of the beating. His mother, Soledad Gonzalez, called her son's arrest "a big, big mistake."

Stow, a paramedic and father of two, had driven to the game in Los Angeles from his northern California home in Santa Cruz to see his favorite baseball team, the Giants, play the Dodgers on the Opening Day game March 31 at Dodger Stadium.

Dressed in Giants apparel, he was attacked by two men wearing Dodgers gear in the stadium parking lot after the game, beaten so badly that he was left in a coma.

The assault touched off a furor in Los Angeles over what critics said was a failure by the city and team officials to provide adequate security.

Stow remains hospitalized in San Francisco, but his family said on its website that he was opening his eyes and alert, and was able to mouth his last name, just days after suffering a medical setback that had led to emergency surgery.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)

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