A prosecution witness in the murder trial of Rocky Boice Jr. said Tuesday he and a group of nine other Native American men were tired of being "bullied" by a Hispanic street gang when they went to a motel room armed with weapons.
"Jessica Evans was telling me all the Eastwood Tokers were there and she got hit (by one). We were all pretty upset about it and tired of getting bullied around," said Julian Contreras, 19, who was one of the original 12 people charged in the 1998 motel-room beating death of Sammy Resendiz. "We were gonna fight the Tokers."
Boice is the first to be tried on charges of first-degree murder, burglary, battery with the use of a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit battery.
Contreras, who has pleaded guilty to battery, said he was armed with a baseball bat. Boice held a two-foot long "club" and others were carrying metal pipes and chains when they rushed into a room where Evans said a group of about 30 Eastwood Tokers were partying.
"We all stood against the wall in a single-file line. Jessica knocked on the door," he said.
When the door was opened, Contreras said, Evans moved to the side and "Rocky Boice rushed in -- we all rushed in."
Three people remained after a party in the North Carson Street motel room.
Contreras said when he entered the room, Boice already was fighting with Resendiz.
"I looked to the left and saw Rocky Boice and the guy on the first bed scuffling," he said. "He was hitting him with the club. (Resendiz) was trying to fight back."
He said at the second bed, where Carlos Lainez testified he was asleep, Lew Dutchy, 28, was hitting Lainez with a chain.
Lainez survived his injuries. Resendiz died 13 hours later from brain injury.
Contreras admitted hitting Resendiz with an aluminum baseball bat "about three or four times" on his lower body as Boice attacked the man with a club on his "upper body." At one point, the prosecutor handed the bat to Contreras, who demonstrated to the jury how he'd swung it.
Contreras said the melee lasted about 30 seconds before Boice yelled "Cops!" Contreras said he followed Boice, and two others -- Jaron Malone and Clint Malone -- followed him out of the room.
On cross examination by defense attorney Laurence Lichter, Contreras admitted he lied in his initial interview with police four years ago, saying Boice was using a baseball bat.
"I was just scared. I was 14 years old," Contreras said, admitting he told police he wasn't in the room at all.
Boice contends when he entered the room to confront a man who hit Evans, Resendiz, who wasn't involved in the earlier dispute, threatened to shoot him.
Contreras denied hearing any reference to a gun or anyone say anything before the beatings began. He said the group was only looking to even the score against the gang he described as violent and bullying to Native Americans.
"I just wanted to fight. I didn't think anyone was going to die," he said.
Contreras pleaded guilty Aug. 24 to one count of battery with a deadly
weapon with substantial bodily harm. A sentencing date has not been set.
The remaining eight defendants are expected to be tried during the next seven months: Frederick Fred, Dutchy, Jaron Malone, Clint Malone, Mike Kizer, Elvin Fred, Sylvia Fred and Evans.
Alejandro Avila pleaded guilty to lesser charge of conspiracy to commit battery in 1999.