A 23-year-old Carson City man was sentenced Thursday to at least 20 years in prison for his role in a motel-room beating four years ago that claimed the life of Sammy Resendiz.
Rocky Boice Jr. showed little emotion to the sentence, but prior to hearing his fate he tearfully addressed the court.
"I apologize to the Resendiz family for their loss," he said.
District Judge Michael Griffin told him, "If any of you had the sense to say 'I'm going home,' none of this would have happened."
Griffith sentenced Boice to 10 to 25 years for second-degree murder and two to 10 years for battery.
Because it was found that Boice used a club in the attack on Resendiz in the Round House Inn Motel on Aug. 23, 1999, he must complete at least 10 years of the murder sentence before he can begin serving 10 to 25 years on the deadly weapon enhancement. He could be released in 2022.
Boice is the first of nine Native American defendants to be tried in the murder of Resendiz, 25. He was found guilty by a Carson City jury in September after a two-week trial. Three others pleaded to lesser charges in exchange for their testimony.
Boice went to the motel with 11 others at the urging of his cousin, Jessica Evans. She claimed a member of a gang slapped her earlier in the evening during a party there.
When the group arrived, prosecutors allege, they beat Resendiz and Carlos Lainez. Lainez survived; Resendiz died later at a Reno hospital of severe head injuries.
Four family members testified on Boice's behalf during Thursday's 90-minute hearing.
Josephine Talas, Boice's grandmother, told the court: "He's always been a good boy. This is very hard on us.
"I love Rocky very much and I know he misses his family as much as we miss him. I know he wants to see his little daughter grow up."
Boice has been in custody since his September conviction.
"Rocky is a good person. He has a good heart. He's a good father and a good son," said his mother, Terry Boice, in asking that her son receive leniency. "He is the heart of our family and he's the best person I know. So much better a person than I am."
Boice's father, Rocky Boice Sr., and fiancZ Kim Susenkewa also asked the judge for leniency.
"Rocky Boice has led a violent life," said District Attorney Noel Waters, who asked for the minimum sentence. "He was a leader. He was the one the younger individuals followed in the course of this plan to attack."
Tezia Boice, who will be 2 years old in January, toddled about the courtroom during her father's sentencing. Periodically, the pigtailed girl would stand on her tiptoes and peek over the wall separating the defendant from the gallery.
At one point, she called to her father and waved at him. Boice, dressed in prison blues, looked over his shoulder and smiled broadly at her. He couldn't wave back -- his hands were chained at the waist.
"Sammy leaves a couple of children behind too," Waters said. "He leaves two kids behind that don't have a father. They'll never see their father."
"This is a tragedy that may have wiped out an entire generation of Native Americans in the community," Griffin said.
The trial for the remaining eight defendants -- Jessica Evans, Fred Fred, Clint Malone, Lew Dutchy, Jaron Malone, Sylvia Fred, Elvin Fred and Mike Kizer -- is set for March. All but Dutchy were younger than 21 years old at the time of the murder.