By Ed Brock
There is no punishment for the man who shot her husband that would satisfy Rosario Estedes.
"Even if he suffers the death penalty I won't get back what was taken from me," Estedes said through an interpreter.
Clutching both the couple's 3-year-old son and a photograph of Auturo Sanchez, her common-law husband, Estedes watched as Pablo Gomez made his first court appearance Monday. Gomez is charged with murder in the shooting death of Sanchez.
Sanchez, 27, was shot and killed early Sunday morning after a fight between his brother, Gerardo Sanchez, and Gomez at a birthday party at the Tara Center on Tara Boulevard in Jonesboro. Gomez was being taken from the party by private security guards when he drew a pistol and began firing in the direction of the Sanchez brothers, hitting Arturo Sanchez.
Sanchez' brother said the victim's son saw the actual killing as the bullets whizzed over his head and hit his father. The youngster ran to his father who lay dying on the floor of the center and told him that he loved him.
Gomez, 26, and his girlfriend, Gilra Salinas, left the Tara Center after the shooting and were arrested later as they were walking down a driveway at nearby Edmondson Mobile Home Park where they live. Salinas, 20, told police at the time that they had been in the trailer all night.
Investigators still haven't released further details about the shooting or the reason for the fight between Gomez and Gerardo Sanchez. The Sanchez family members were told not to discuss the details of the case with the media, but Estedes said she was standing nearby when her husband was shot multiple times.
"I screamed out why did you shoot him like that," Estedes said. "He didn't even give my husband a chance to defend himself."
Arturo Sanchez's father, Julian Sanchez, described his son as a "very good boy." Arturo Sanchez came to America from Mexico 10 years ago and worked as a floor layer before getting a job recently at the Atlanta State Farmer's Market, Estedes said. They met while she was living in Texas and for a while they maintained a long-distance relationship.
He will be buried in Forest Park, the family said.
In the last three years police have been called to the center about 12 times for incidents including three other shootings, fights, and vandalism.
Earlier this year a Clayton County jury convicted Jesus Tavera in the shooting death of 14-year-old Jose Guadelope Mora during another birthday party at the center on Aug. 5, 2001.
People who rent space at the center are responsible for providing security if a party will have more than a certain number of guests or if there might be guests there they do not know, said Lee Scott, a minister with The Christian Business Network that owns the Tara Center.
Scott said police credited the security at this party for doing a good job in preventing others from being hurt.
"We're studying ways to make it safer because obviously it's tragic when this happens," Scott said.