Zachariah Anderson murder trial: Arguments over possible 2nd mistrial

A Kenosha County judge is delaying a homicide trial for a day to hear arguments about whether there should be a second mistrial. 

Zachariah Anderson is charged with killing Rosalio Gutierrez and hiding his body – which has never been found. Anderson's ex was dating Gutierrez at the time he disappeared in May 2020.

Rosalio Gutierrez, Zachariah Anderson

Defense attorney Nicole Muller was in the middle of her opening statement Tuesday…

"We have no explanation of what happened to him. We have no explanation of what Mr. Anderson would have put a body. We're going to run with him," Muller said. 

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The defense's theory is that the police investigation was shoddy. 

"So what did they ignore? They ignored Ms. Beacham!" Muller told the jury.

Nicole Muller, defense attorney

Beacham is Anderson's ex and the new love interest of Gutierrez. Beacham is the one who found the bloody apartment.

Muller pointed to a text sent to the ex from her friend days before Gutierrez disappeared. 

"Phone call has been placed. All I was told is, it will begin, and you will not know when, where or how, call 'em in one week. What's one week later? When she's at Mr. Gutierrez' apartment," Muller said.

Zachariah Anderson

The prosecution objected to this – and the judge ordered the jury out of the courtroom for what he thought would be a few moments. It took much longer. 

"There’s a whole body of case law that doesn’t allow a private citizen to be accused," said Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley. 

Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley

At issue is the Denny rule. If the defense wants to blame a third party for a crime, that requires pre-trial hearings to show motive, opportunity, and direction connection.

The prosecution said the defense's statement is in direct conflict with the rule – the jury heard what was said, and it cannot be undone.

Nicole Muller, Zachariah Anderson

"This is a mistrial. You can’t take away a suspect from a jury," Graveley said.

"I have not accused anyone of anything," Muller said. "Law enforcement honed in on my client and didn’t investigate anything else."

The arguments continued late into Tuesday afternoon.

"I have no desire to mistry this case," said Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder. 

Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder

Ultimately, the judge dismissed the jury for the day. He told jurors to come back on Thursday morning. Attorneys will make arguments Wednesday afternoon.

Judge Schroeder, who also presided over the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, has set aside two weeks for the Anderson trial.

Complete opening statements