A Carson City jury found Rocky Boice Jr., 23, guilty Wednesday of second-degree murder in the 1998 motel-room beating death of Sammy Resendiz, 25.
Passing up the charges of first-degree murder and burglary, the jury of seven women and five men found Boice guilty of three of the four charges against him -- murder, battery with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit battery.
At his sentencing Nov. 4 he could be sent to prison for life. District Attorney Noel Waters told the court he would ask for the minimum sentence of 20 years.
Boice, who's been out on bail since 1998, was immediately taken into the custody of the Carson City Jail after the verdict was read.
He is the first of nine defendants to be tried in the 1998 Round House Inn beating death of Resendiz.
To a silent and packed courtroom -- while two female jurors wept -- the clerk read the verdict as Boice's family and friends, including his girlfriend and their toddler daughter, stood behind him.
An alternate juror, who was never called, also cried quietly as she sat in the gallery watching the proceedings.
Judge Michael Griffin thanked the jurors for their service following the two-week trial and asked them not to speak to anyone about their 16-hour deliberations.
"We have another four or five trials scheduled in this case and I do not want you to have an effect on any other jury," he said.
The foreman said the jurors had agreed not to speak about the deliberations.
The remaining defendants, Jessica Evans, Fred Fred, Jaron Malone, Elvin Fred, Clint Malone, Mike Kizer, Sylvia Fred and Lew Dutchy face trials in the next six months. Three others, Alejandro Avila, David Moyle and Julian Contreras pleaded guilty to lesser charges.
"This has all the elements of a major tragedy in my opinion," Griffin said. "This was very arduous and tough work you folks had."
Resendiz was a reputed founder and member of the Eastwood Tokers whose family said just prior to his death had settled down and was raising his two small children. In the time since the killing, Boice himself had become a father of a little girl.
The jury, which was not sequestered, deliberated for seven hours Tuesday until 11 p.m. and reported back to the courthouse at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday until they returned a verdict at about 8 p.m.
Boice claimed he was only defending himself when he and the others went to the motel room to confront a man he claims hit Evans during a party with Hispanic gang members earlier in the evening.
He said Eastwood Tokers had repeatedly attacked Native Americans over the years, but he'd built a rapport with the gangsters and believed he could talk to them.
When Resendiz, one of three people left in the room by the time the group arrived an hour later, reportedly threatened to shoot, Boice said he was forced to defend himself.
According to the prosecution, at least five other defendants also ran into the room armed with bats, chains and sticks to beat Resendiz and Carlos Lainez, who survived.
Resendiz suffered 18 to 22 blows in the melee that ensued. He died 13 hours later in a Reno hospital.
Defense attorney Day Williams said he plans to appeal the verdict on the grounds that the judge wouldn't allow the jury to hear unsubstantiated reports of Resendiz's history of violent behavior, including domestic assault.
"We're disappointed. It's a tragedy for Native Americans. It's a tragedy for Mexicans. It's a tragedy that that Tokers weren't stopped early on in their development," Williams said, reiterating the defense's position that Resendiz was the aggressor and Boice had no choice but to defend himself.
Waters agreed the situation was a tragedy.
"But I'm gratified with the jury's verdict and the amount of effort they put into it," he said.