Defense rests in Boice trial | NevadaAppeal.com

Defense rests in Boice trial

Geoff Dornan, Appeal Capitol Bureau

The defense in the trial of Rocky Boice Jr. rested Friday after just one witness — Boice himself.

He is accused along with nine other Native American youths of beating Sammy Resendiz to death Aug. 23, 1998, in retribution for an assault on Boice’s cousin, Jessica Evans, by a gang member.

District Judge Mike Griffin scheduled final arguments in the case for Tuesday and told jurors they could expect to begin deliberations late in the day.

Boice testified he went to the room at the Roundhouse Inn on North Carson Street to confront Israel “Muppet” Rallah, the gang member who allegedly punched Evans earlier the evening of the the beating death.

When Boice demanded to know where Rallah was, he testified Resendiz called him names and threatened, “I’ll shoot you,” then reached for something on the motel room bed.

Boice said he had had problems with harassment by Resendiz’s gang in the past and knew they had a reputation for violence.

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With that knowledge, he said he just reacted when Resendiz reached for something on the bed.

“I rushed in and hit him once in the forehead and knocked him back,” he said.

As Resendiz, 25, pulled his arm forward again, Boice said he hit him a second time on the shoulder and a third time on the forearm. It was then, he said, he saw that Resendiz had no weapon and heard what he thought was Evans yell, “He’s not the one.”

“I turned and was running out,” Boice said. He said he yelled “Cops, cops” thinking that would get his friends’ attention and get them to flee as well.

And Boice testified he didn’t know until the next day that Resendiz had been severely injured. Resendiz died of massive brain trauma from numerous blows to the head.

Defense attorney Laurence Lichter argued the damage could not have been caused by the two-foot stick the thickness of a broom handle Boice was carrying.

Boice said he didn’t think there would be a fight at the motel, but District Attorney Noel Waters questioned why Boice and the others brought clubs and chains as weapons if they didn’t expect a fight.

Waters argued also that Boice’s demand to see Rallah when he arrived could only aggravate a hostile situation.

“I wasn’t really thinking when I said what I said,” Boice told the court.

“My emotions were so high,” Boice said. “I’m sorry for what happened with Mr. Resendiz.”

He said he should have asked police to handle the assault of his cousin, but that they refused to do so earlier and that he didn’t have much faith in the police.

Earlier testimony indicated Evans reported the assault to sheriff’s deputies across the street from the motel earlier in the evening. She said they just told her to go home because she was drunk.

Boice could be sentenced to life in prison if he is convicted.