Broom likely didn't cause damage described by doctor

Brain swelling from blows of "significant" force to the right side of the head ended the life of a 25-year-old Carson City man, but none of those blows likely came from the defendant's weapon, a forensic pathologist testified Tuesday.

Prosecuters say Sammy Resendiz was beaten with bats, chains and metal pipes by a group of people in the Round House Motel on North Carson Street on Aug., 24, 1998. He died later after his family removed him from life support, said Dr. Katherine Raven in the trial of Rocky Boice Jr., whose attorney said Boice struck Resendiz with a broom handle.

"I doubt a broom handle caused those injuries to the skull," Raven said.

"There was a massive hemorrhage inside the scalp on the right side. He had massive fractures to the right side of the skull -- large complex fractures -- that extended to the base of his skull," said Raven, who performed the autopsy on Resendiz. "It's like a balloon. When you blow up a balloon too much it bursts, but the skull can't burst and it forces the brain into the spine. That's what kills people."

Boice, 23, one of 10 defendants charged in the death of Resendiz, is accused of first-degree murder, burglary, battery with the use of a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit battery. If convicted he faces life in prison.

Raven agreed with defense attorneys that any of the injuries could be consistent with an aluminum baseball bat.

Boice attorney Lawrence Lichter asked Raven if someone facing Resendiz would have to be left-handed to cause injury to the right side of his face with a baseball bat.

Raven said the person holding the bat could either be left handed, swinging the bat in their right hand with a tennis backhand, or Resendiz could have been lying on the bed.

"You can't get much force with a backhand though," Lichter said.

"Ask a tennis player," Raven said. "They'll tell you a backhand is pretty powerful."

The only marks on the left side of Resendiz's body were some minor bruising and a deeply bruised left hand, which Raven said was consistent with defensive wounds.

In addition to the skull fractures, a small bone in Resendiz's throat was fractured. The tip of his thumb was broken and his right forearm was so shattered that it would bend in the middle.

District Attorney Noel Waters contends Resendiz was asleep in the room when Boice and the others came in and started beating him.

"Could he have been lying on the bed with his arms up?" Waters asked Raven.

"Yes. If the right side of his head was exposed," she said.

Also Tuesday, a woman who lived behind the motel testified she heard a group of people she assumed were Native American by the way they walked, rallying to "go get them."

Boice said he and the others had gone to the motel to defend the honor of his cousin, Jessica Evans, who told them a gang member had beaten her earlier in the evening.

Waters claimed the group went there armed with clubs with the intention of harming someone in the room. But it was "a case of misplaced vengeance," he said, because Resendiz had not been involved in the earlier incident.

Testimony in the case resumes today.


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