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Witness: Argument over respecting women led to shooting

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

Jhony Orralleana lay down behind the pool table, thinking he would be safe there. People were screaming in the Jonesboro bar as they ran away from the gunfire.

Shot once in the side, with a 9 mm bullet, Orralleana was losing blood and his vision was going blurry, he testified, through a court-approved translator, in Clayton County Superior Court on Tuesday morning.

All he could hear was the sirens coming, he said, and the song, "The Last Goodbye," playing on the juke box.

He didn't see that Jorge Ochoa-Alvaraz was lying next to him, bleeding to death on the barroom floor.

The night of March 12, 2006, had started calmly in Coronas Bar & Billiards, 6640 Tara Blvd. "I had started drinking a Corona," Orralleana said, when the fight broke out. "I had seen something start to happen, but since it had nothing to do with me, I did nothing," he said.

The fight, that night, started when Eduardo Diaz Gutierrez, a 29-year-old, wearing a brown cowboy hat, inappropriately touched a waitress, according to Detective Thomas Martin's arrest warrant affidavit.

"Are you a whore?" Gutierrez allegedly asked the waitress. The waitress, Orralleana remembers, started crying.

Another man, called "Christian," by Orralleana, stepped in. "Are you born of a woman?" Orralleana said the man asked. "You should respect women, because you are born of woman," he said.

The two men, standing by a cash registered, started to fight. According to Orralleana's testimony, the fight stopped after a few minutes. Gutierrez picked up his hat and walked outside, and "Christian" sat down at a table by himself.

Then, Gutierrez came back into the bar, but eight people separated the two men and stopped the second fight. Gutierrez left the bar again. "When he came back from outside, he was armed," Orralleana said.

Still sitting at the bar, Orralleana didn't do anything, but watch. Another man, Jorge Ochoa-Alvaraz, tried to reason with the fighting pair. "Jorge told them not to fight," Orralleana said, "that we were all Hispanics and we shouldn't fight ...

"[Gutierrez] said, 'What's up dude, you want some problems?'"

Gutierrez allegedly fired his Hi-Point Ruger three or four times, hitting "Christian," Ochoa-Alvaraz and Orralleana with 9 mm bullets.

"Is the bullet still in your body?" prosecutor Holly Veal asked Orralleana.

"Yes," he said. He pulled up his white T shirt, showing the jury a healed-over hole in his left side, and pointing to the ribs on his right side. "It's right here," he said.

Gutierrez is being tried on charges of murder and aggravated assault. Sitting in court, wearing a tan suit, Gutierrez listened to the testimony against him translated through a headset. He sat still, only blinking.

Clayton County Police Investigator Carl Cook said the scene, when he entered the bar, was disaster and chaos. Furniture was knocked over. Blood, beer bottles, bullet casings and clothing covered the floor.

"It was pretty bloody," Cook said.

A Georgia Bureau of Investigations medical examiner testified that a bullet struck Ochoa-Alvaraz in the stomach, cutting a major artery and filling his abdominal cavity with two liters of blood.

In the middle of the barroom mess lay a brown, straw, cowboy hat and a black handgun, both allegedly belonging to Gutierrez.

When arrested, Gutierrez allegedly told police he was hiding in a nearby trash bin as the police cars and ambulances rushed to the scene. He lived in some nearby woods for two days after the shooting, according to Detective Martin's arrest warrant application, trying to avoid getting caught.

When asked why he didn't just leave the Tara Boulevard bar, Gutierrez allegedly said, "It was a pride thing."

The trial will continue on Wednesday, with the prosecution continuing to call witnesses.