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Man found guilty of barroom murder, assault

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

Standing outside the bar, smoking a cigarette, Eduardo Diaz Gutierrez made a decision.

He had been at Coronas Bar & Billiards, 6640 Tara Blvd., for more than four hours, drinking beer and watching the bikini competition.

He had grabbed a waitress and asked her if she was a prostitute, had fought with a man who found him offensive, and had walked outside to smoke and think.

Gutierrez made a decision, at 11 p.m., that Saturday, and he untucked his shirt. He put out his cigarette. He took a 9 mm pistol and put it in his waistband. The matte-black Hi-Point Ruger cost him $250. He had owned if for four days, and now, he decided, he was going to use it.

"He was good and drunk and he was ready to fight," said Holly Veal, a Clayton County prosecutor. "Apparently, that was the kind of guy he was."

The 29-year-old would later tell detectives, "It was a pride thing."

After deliberating for more than four hours, Friday, a Clayton County jury found Gutierrez guilty of murder and multiple counts of aggravated assault. The jury determined that he made a decision, on March 12, 2006, to go back into the bar with a gun, and the jury rejected the defense attorney's arguments about accidents and provocation.

"I'm glad I got this guy," said Veal, during a cell phone interview while she drove home after the verdict. "I was sort of scared, going in, that something would slip up ... I think what was probably the most damning evidence was his confession."

During his interview with Clayton County Police Detective Thomas Martin, Gutierrez said he had gone into the bar, after fighting with a man about how women ought to be treated, and he brought his newly-purchased gun.

Jorge Ochoa-Alvaraz, at the bar that March night to celebrate a birthday and play pool, stepped in front of the armed Gutierrez and pleaded with him.

Ochoa-Alvaraz reportedly said, "Don't fight. We're all Hispanics. We shouldn't fight."

According to witnesses, Gutierrez said, "What's up dude, you want some problems?" and then began to fire the gun.

He shot Ochoa-Alvaraz in the arm and in the side. The second bullet pierced a main artery, causing massive internal bleeding. A medical examiner testified, during the trial, that Ochoa-Alaraz's abdominal cavity was filled with more than two liters of blood, when he died on the barroom floor.

"Jorge was there to play pool and celebrate someone's birthday," Veal said. "He was there for a good purpose, and then some crazy, drunk guy kills him. That's unacceptable. That's just flat-out unacceptable, and you can't make sense of that. It could have been anyone."

Gutierrez fired his 9 mm nine times, in the crowded bar, Veal said, wounding two other men.

One of the wounded men, Jhony Orralleana, showed the jury where the lead was still lodged in his body.

The jury found Gutierrez guilty of all the felony charges against him, and Judge Albert Collier sentenced him to life plus 35 years in prison.

The 29-year-old man will be eligible for parole in 2049, when he's 71.