LAWRENCE – Quiet and shy with two young children, Amaralis Roldan didn’t go out much. But on Sept. 6, 2010, on Labor Day weekend, she went to the La Guira nightclub with her sister, cousin and another girlfriend.
The four stood together near a back wall in the packed Broadway nightclub listening to music. Suddenly, they heard what they thought were balloons popping. Aida Roldan said she felt “heat” rush by her ear and then her older sister, Amarilis, told her to get down.
“All I heard was my sister saying ‘throw yourself on the floor,’” Aida Roldon testified yesterday.
Aida Roldan, 24, survived the La Guira nightclub shooting after taking cover under a table and then sprinting out of the club. But her sister Amarilis, the mother of a 1 and 3-year-old, did not. Aida burst into tears yesterday as jurors were shown a smiling picture of her sister on a projection screen in the courtroom. Amarilis Roldan was 24 when she was killed at La Guira.
Johan Saint Clair, 32, is accused of the first-degree murder of both Roldan, of Dorchester, and Juan Esteban Suaza-Soto, 34, of Hyde Park. He was allegedly armed with a semi-automatic handgun when he opened fire into a crowd of 200 people gathered at La Guira at midnight. Prosecutor James Gubitose described the killings as deliberate and premeditated.
Saint Clair is also charged with wounding Valerie Verdejo and Jose Luis Medrano Baez and illegally carrying the semi-automatic handgun.
The trial, which is expected to last two weeks, opened yesterday in Lawrence Superior Court after two days of jury selection.
Aida Roldan and several others who were at La Guira that night testified about the chaotic scene that erupted in the crowded club after shots were fired. The six men and eight women on the jury were shown a series of photos of the club, some which included pools of blood and medical debris left by paramedics on the floor. Another photo showed Suazo-Soto lying dead on his back in the nightclub. A visibly shaken woman, who was sitting in the courtroom gallery, got up and left when the picture flashed up on the projection screen.