EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 11, 2012

Opening arguments delayed to today in La Guira club double-murder trial

By Jill Harmacinski jharmacinski@eagletribune.com
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — LAWRENCE — A jury in the La Guira double murder trial wasn’t fully impaneled until yesterday, delaying opening arguments in the case against Johan Saint Clair until today.

Jury selection in the case started Tuesday morning in Lawrence Superior Court.

Armed with a semi-automatic handgun, Saint Clair, 32, of Lawrence, is accused of opening fire in the La Guira nightclub on Broadway on Sept. 6, 2010. Two people were killed and two others were wounded in what police described as a “revenge” crime.

The bloody shootings were considered retribution against a local kidnapping gang that allegedly stole cocaine from Saint Clair previously, according to court documents.

Saint Clair is charged with two counts of first degree murder, which each carry a life sentence without parole, two counts of armed assault with intent to murder, two counts of armed assault by means of a dangerous weapon and illegal possession of a large capacity firearm.

Amarilis Roldon, 24, of Dorchester, and Juan Esteban Suazo-Soto, 24, of Hyde Park, were killed. Shooting survivors Valerie Verdejo and Jose Luis Medrano Baez are listed as potential witnesses in the case, along with numerous Lawrence detectives, police officers and La Guira owner Richard Nunez.

The club was shut down in August after its liquor license was revoked by the state’s Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.

Saint Clair has been held at Middleton Jail since his immediate arrest after the shooting.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screenname EagleTribJill.