A Carson City judge reluctantly agreed Monday to postpone sentencing for a man convicted of second-degree murder in a 1998 motel-room beating death.
Judge Michael Griffin allowed Rocky Boice Jr., to switch from his court-appointed attorney, Day Williams, to independent counsel Karla Butko. The judge delayed the sentencing until 9 a.m. Dec. 17.
Boice, 23, was convicted last month of second-degree murder in the beating death of Sammy Resendiz, 25, in a room at the Round House Inn.
Williams was appointed as Boice's counsel only days before the August trial when Boice claimed his first attorney, Alison Joffee, wasn't prepared. He used a similar argument in asking to replace Williams.
Griffin said he had reservations about the replacement.
"We have some people who have lost a loved one," the judge said. "They've been waiting for five years while their loved one's name has been dragged through the mud. They have a right to put this case behind them."
Butko said Boice had lost faith and trust in his attorney and that the victim's family would not receive closure with Boice's sentencing.
"This isn't going to be put behind them just because Mr. Boice is concluded," Butko told the judge. "(The family) will be coming in here all winter. There are three more trials left."
Boice was found guilty of three of the four charges against him: second-degree murder, battery with a deadly weapon, and conspiracy to commit battery.
Because of a deadly weapon enhancement, which doubles the sentence, Boice could receive two life sentences, but District Attorney Noel Waters has said he will ask for the minimum sentence of 10 years on the murder charge. It's up to the judge to determine if the deadly weapon enhancement will be served at the same time or in addition to the term.
Butko said she plans to have Boice mentally evaluated and will call between five and 10 family members and character witnesses during the sentencing hearing. Waters said he will call one witness.
Boice was one of 12 defendants initially charged in the beating. The remaining defendants, Jessica Evans, Fred Fred, Jaron Malone, Elvin Fred, Clint Malone, Mike Kizer, Sylvia Fred and Lew Dutchy face trials in the next six months. Three others, Alejandro Avila, David Moyle and Julian Contreras. pleaded guilty to lesser charges.