A man who survived a Carson City motel room attack in which a man was beaten to death said Thursday he was asleep when assailants began to strike him.
Carlos Lainez, 25, testified for the prosecution in the case against Rocky Boice Jr., 23. Boice is one of 10 people accused in the 1998 beating death of Sammy Resendiz.
"(I woke up) when they started hitting me in the head," Lainez said through a translator.
"I was sleeping and somebody was hitting me. I don't know how many but I know I was quite beat up already when I woke up," he said. "I didn't see anything. I just know it was maybe 12 or 13 Indians hitting me."
Lainez said shortly after waking he must have been knocked unconscious because the next thing he remembers is coming to on the floor and seeing Resendiz curled up in the corner of the room.
"He was bleeding profusely from the head and I went and took him to the bed," he said.
Lainez said he believed Resendiz was on a bed closest the door to the room watching television before he was attacked, but he wasn't sure if he was asleep.
Boice contends he went to the room to confront a man who had slapped his cousin earlier in the evening and, when he asked for the person, Resendiz threatened to shoot him.
He claims he hit Resendiz in self-defense. At least a dozen other people accompanied Boice to the motel room and allegedly joined in the melee, hitting both Lainez and Resendiz with bats, chains and metal pipe. Nine others have been charged in Resendiz's death.
Photographs showing a blood-soaked pillow and head area of the bed closest to the motel room door and some blood on another bed in the room were displayed first to Lainez and then the jury.
When asked if he recognized what was in the picture, Lainez replied, "On the first bed is the blood of my friend."
Defense attorney Lawrence Lichter asked Lainez, who is an admitted member of a Carson City gang called the Eastwood Tokers, if his allegiance to the gang was more powerful than his allegiance to the oath he took to tell the truth.
Lainez, who is a U.S. citizen born in Los Angeles, moved as a child to El Salvador and returned to the United States about five years ago.
"For me, my country comes first before the gang," he said. "First comes the court."
Boice is charged with first-degree murder, burglary, battery with the use of a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit battery. If convicted he faces life in prison.
Testimony resumes today.