Brother seeks justice | NevadaAppeal.com

Brother seeks justice

by Teri Vance and Samantha Fredrickson, Appeal Staff Writers

Jose Resendiz (center) is raising his niece and nephew after their father, Sammy Resendiz, was killed in 1998. The family is still waiting for the 10 men accused of the murder to go on trial. Left to right, Sammy Jr., 9, Jose, and Gabriela Resendiz, 7. | Photo by Rick Gunn.

Sammy Resendiz immigrated to the United States in search of a better life. Instead, he was beaten to death in a Carson City motel room and four years later, his family is still waiting for justice.

“I would just like to see those people who killed him get what they deserve — to get punished for it,” said his brother Jose, 36. “After the time is going by, you kind of forget a little of the pain. Now that it’s going on again, it’s bringing it all back — it’s like it just happened yesterday.”

Jose Resendiz moved to Carson City in 1980. Sammy followed in 1988 and a third brother, Felix, joined them in 1997.

Life in a new land was difficult at first and Sammy found fellowship in a Carson City gang. He helped start the Eastwood Tokers at around age 17 but by the time he was 20, he decided to move on.

He got married, had two children and left his old life behind.

“He was a good person,” Jose said. “For three years, he didn’t have any trouble with the police or any kind of gang activity. He changed his life.”

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By 1998, he was divorced, living with Jose and raising his children on his own.

“He was a good dad,” Jose said. “He was working, raising his kids — being both mom and dad.”

It all ended Aug. 23, 1998 when Resendiz agreed to give a former friend a ride to a party.

He was allegedly beat to death that night with bats, rusted metal bars and chains when 12 members of a rival Native American gang reportedly broke into the room in an attempt to settle an earlier dispute. Sammy was 25.

“My brother wasn’t even involved in what was going on earlier in that evening,” Jose Resendiz said.

“He wasn’t even invited to that party. He didn’t go to the party. The only mistake he made was to give a ride to one of his ex-friends and stay there for five minutes.”

The murder trial for the first defendant, Rocky Boice Jr., was supposed to begin July 22, but was postponed until Aug. 26 because the defense was not ready.

Two defendants pleaded guilty to lesser charges. Trial dates for the remaining defendants are yet to be set. They face three felony charges related to murder and a gross misdemeanor.

During the preliminary hearing, about 40 protesters — mostly Native American — gathered on the front steps of the courthouse to show a united front in support of the defendants.

However, Jody Hernandez, a friend of Sammy Resendiz, said the demonstration was not representative of Hispanics’ point of view.

“We want to see the Carson 10 go to the state pen,” Hernandez said. “They are animals. They are beasts. They belong caged up like animals.”

Attorneys for the 10 remaining defendants argue police were unresponsive to their complaints of gang activity and that innocent men are being charged because of their race.

But Resendiz family friend Lourdes Soto said the defendants are using their race to get out of the trial.

“Race needs to be left out of the whole thing,” Soto said. “They committed the crime and now they have to go to court for it and that is the bottom line. (The protesters) need to realize their children are murderers.”

Jose is raising Sammy’s two children, 9 and 7, as the legal guardian.

“The youngest one, she thinks he went to Mexico and might come back,” Jose said. “The older one knows the truth. His dad is dead. He got killed.”

It is for the children’s sake that Veronica Resendiz, Jose’s wife, said she most wants to see the trial process begin.

“I want justice for the children who were left without a father,” she said. “People are worrying about uniting the Indians and Mexicans — we just want the justice required by law and given by God.”

Hernandez said she is planning a demonstration before the August trial to demand justice be served for Sammy Resendiz.