A woman living in the Roundhouse Motel the night Sammy Resendiz was killed testified Friday his assailants rushed into his room and started beating him with clubs, bats and pipes.
"As soon as they went inside, I heard the thumping begin -- as soon as they went inside," Paula Donnelly said in Carson District Court of the 1998 attack.
The testimony came as District Attorney Noel Waters began building his case for a murder conviction against Rocky Boice Jr., one of 10 men and women accused in the murder. Boice's lawyers say their client hit Resendiz twice when he thought the victim was reaching for a gun, but didn't kill him.
Donnelly, who now lives out of state, testified she and her husband watched the whole assault from the motel balcony beginning when she heard the group of men and women pick up their weapons and one of them say "Let's go" or "Let's get them."
"They walked directly under us and they were all carrying, like, baseball bats," she said. "They walked like in a straight line right over to Room 103."
Donnelly said a girl in the group knocked and, when the room door opened, she held it.
"The rest of them rushed inside and started beating," she said. "It sounded like metal. It was horrible. You could tell somebody was getting hurt."
She said she heard someone try to cry out.
"It was like, 'Oh,' then it was cut off."
But she said she could hear the thumping of bats and pipes.
"It was constant. It was thump, thump, thump, thump. It was bad."
She said the incident lasted less than a minute, then the group left, returning to their car at the southwest corner of the motel beneath her room.
"I yelled at them, 'What, does it take 20 of you to beat up one ... guy?' And one of the younger ones says, 'Yeah, you don't mess with the...' I couldn't hear what. And they all started whooping and yelling."
Some of the weapons Waters says were used to kill Resendiz and injure Carlos Lainez -- a large ratchet, a piece of pipe and a metal construction stake -- were found discarded at the motel.
Defense attorneys Day Williams and Laurence Lichter are trying to show that Boice carried a weapon to the room only because he had been attacked by Eastwood Tokers -- the gang Resendiz was associated with -- in the past.
They questioned former Carson sheriff's Sgt. Steve McKissick and former Deputy Mike Kleinfelder about police procedures in carrying weapons into a potentially dangerous situation. They said Boice carried a weapon to deter violence -- much like sheriff's deputies would -- as he went to the motel the night of Aug. 23, 1998.
Under cross examination, Kleinfelder said he knew Resendiz from the deputy's days as a jailer and agreed the Tokers had a reputation for violence. But Resendiz, he said, wasn't violent. He said Resendiz was a jail trustee -- not a position given to those who are violent -- and "as a matter of fact, he spoke a lot of family."
The trial will resume before Carson District Judge Mike Griffin on Tuesday.