Final three sentenced in 1998 murder
A Carson City judge said Thursday he will ask for a lower sentence for Rocky Boice Jr., sent to prison for 10 times longer than any of his counterparts in a 1998 murder.
District Judge Michael Griffin made the comment as he sentenced the last three of 11 defendants to probation for the motel-room beating death of Sammy Resendiz almost five years ago.
Boice, 23, was the only one of the 11 to go to trial. He was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to up to 50 years in prison.
“Boice chose to go to trial. I have no ability to change” his sentence, said Griffin, who presided over the trial. “He wasn’t necessarily the only bad person. I can’t change anything, but I am certainly willing to talk to the people who could relieve a little of the sentence he got.”
Boice was found guilty of second-degree murder for the Aug. 21, 1998, death of Resendiz and sentenced in July to 25-50 years in prison.
Prosecutors contend a group of American Indians went to the motel to exact revenge on a member of a Hispanic gang who’d struck Jessica Evans earlier in the evening during a party there.
When they arrived, only Resendiz and Carlos Lainez were in the room. Resendiz died 13 hours later from a severe beating, and Lainez survived.
Following Boice’s trial, the remaining 10 defendants pleaded guilty to lesser charges.
Of those, Evans, 24, and Lew Dutchy, 28 , were given prison sentences of two to five years.
Others received shorter jail terms and probation, including Julian Contreras, 19, Jaron Malone, 22, and Elvin Fred, 19, who appeared before Griffin on Thursday after pleading guilty to battery with substantial bodily harm.
Boice’s mother, Terri Boice, said she was pleased Griffin addressed her son’s sentence.
“We were hoping he would,” she said. “Nobody ever thought this was a murder trial from the very beginning. If any of these deals had been offered then, we would have taken it.”
She blamed “prosecutorial vindictiveness” for “dragging” the case out over four years.
Griffin credited Contreras with being honest about his involvement.
“You were the first and only one who was consistently up front,” he said in sentencing Contreras. “Had you not stood up and said what you said and testified … we couldn’t have gotten the results that we did with the other people.”
Contreras admitted to using a bat in the attack and to striking Resendiz.
The District Attorney’s Office was unable to answer the question of who struck the fatal blow, but with an estimated 22 separate blows to Resendiz’s head and body, that may never be answered, District Attorney Noel Waters said.
“(He) at least admitted he was the source of some of the blunt force blows,” he said. “He may well have been one of those responsible for the lethal blow to Sammy Resendiz.”
Still, Waters said, Contreras, who was 15 at the time of the murder, was the only defendant to testify for the state and not deny his part or blame others.
“I feel that he should receive a substantial credit for that,” he said. “I simply don’t think prison is warranted.”
Griffin sentenced Contreras to five years’ probation in lieu of 24 months to 60 months in prison. He was also ordered to serve 120 days in jail, 100 hours of community service and pay $24,067 in restitution for Resendiz’s hospital and funeral costs.
“Mr. Contreras, you have the ability to do the right thing in this case,” he said. “If you don’t you’ll be going to prison.”
Jaron Malone, in custody for probation violation in a car theft, was given an additional 90 days in jail, 100 hours of community service and must pay $24,067 in restitution. Malone claims he never went into the motel room.
Elvin Fred, 20, who is living in Kansas and attending school, was given five years’ probation in addition to community service and restitution. A hearing is set for August to decide whether Fred can be discharged from probation to return to school.
In asking for Fred to receive probation, his attorney pointed out another defendant, Michael Kizer, had been attacked in the Carson City jail by two men.
Carson City Sheriff’s Lt. Ray Saylo confirmed Kizer was hit March 18, one day after he began serving a 30-day sentence. Kizer denied knowing who hit him and refused medical attention.
“There’s been no charges because we don’t know who did it and nobody is speaking,” Saylo said.
Kizer was moved to another of the jail’s four cell blocks.