First trial to be just one defendant
A group of three men, scheduled to go to trial Monday in a 1998 murder, was whittled to one when attorneys revealed Thursday their separate defenses may harm the co-defendants.
After closed hearings, where the three defense attorneys revealed their defense posture before District Judge Michael Griffin, the judge removed Lew Dutchy and Jaron Malone from the trial set to begin Monday as the first for a total of 10 defendants in the case.
“The attorneys feel there may be things done and said which may have a negative impact on their clients,” said Griffin in agreeing to sever the two from the first trial for their “incompatible defenses.”
Rocky Boice Jr. and his newly appointed attorney Day Williams will be alone Monday when trial begins in the Aug. 23, 1998, motel room beating death of Sammy Resendiz.
Griffin said Williams’ defense was a “newer concept” and if successful “could lead to serious reexamination of the charges by the District Attorney’s Office.”
On Tuesday, Griffin removed Frederick Fred from the trial because his defense entails bringing in police interview statements made by others at the scene that would excuse him from guilt but point the finger at the others.
Griffin approved the appointment of Williams to take over as counsel for Boice after Boice fired his first court-appointed attorney, Allison Joffee, on Monday.
In Thursday’s hearing, because of Williams’ late entry into the case, the judge approved a paralegal at public expense to assist Williams with the defense.
Boice, Dutchy, Malone and Fred, along with Jessica Evans, Julian Contreras, Clint Malone, Elvin Fred, Sylvia Fred, and Michael Kizer are accused of breaking into a room at the Round House motel for revenge on someone who’d earlier in the evening hit Evans. When they arrived, Resendiz and Carlos Lainez were there sleeping. The prosecution contends the group broke into the room, beat Resendiz to death and seriously injured Lainez.
Trial dates for the remaining defendants haven’t been set yet. The cases were delayed for several months as appeals went to the Nevada Supreme Court over the legality of first-degree murder charges against them.