Zachariah Anderson trial: Opening statements done, testimony begins Wednesday

It is a homicide trial without a body. Opening statements were held on Tuesday, March 15 in the trial of Zachariah Anderson, in connection with his disappearance and death of Rosario Gutierrez, Jr. in May 2020.

Prosecutors portrayed Anderson as jealous – as his ex was in a budding relationship with Gutierrez – jealous enough that he stalked and planned out the Kenosha man's killing. 

Anderson's defense team says the supposed jealousy was manufactured by Anderson's ex, that Anderson did not kill Gutierrez, and that once police had a person of interest, they did not look anywhere else.

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Rosalio Gutierrez was last heard and seen on May 17, 2020. But whatever happened in his Kenosha apartment, prosecutors said it was not good.

"Blood in ceilings of multiple locations. Makes it up to the ceilings of that apartment," said Michael Graveley, Kenosha County District Attorney.

The person who found that scene two days later? Gutierrez's new love interest – the ex of Zachariah Anderson.

Prosecutors say Anderson was jealous, talking his ex and Gutierrez – even bringing along his young daughter – and that Anderson's alibi the night Gutierrez disappeared was not rock solid. He was supposed to be with his own love interest, but was not. His phone was off. The following day?

Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley

"He goes into Walmart, pays cash, it's a little more than $50. He buys rubber gloves, bleach, garbage bags, shampoo," Graveley said.

The state alleges Anderson wrapped up Gutierrez's body in a rug and took his body. That body was never found, despite a number of searches – including his family's Town of Holland tree farm, near Random Lake.

Rosario Gutierrez, Jr.

Prosecutors say a portion of carpet cut out of his van smelled of bleach – and that a small blood stain found matched Gutierrez's DNA.

"In fact, evidence will show is if Gutierrez is even murdered," said Nicole Muller, Anderson's defense attorney.

Zachariah Anderson trial

That line from Anderson's defense attorney drew muffled sounds of displeasure from Gutierrez's family. 

"They found no evidence of a body, no evidence of remains," Muller said.

The defense countered the jealous ex theory as being manufactured by Anderson's ex-girlfriend – and once Muller suggested he could be behind Gutierrez's disappearance. 

"They never investigated it could be anyone else," Muller said.

Nicole Muller, Zachariah Anderson defense attorney

Not a proper job searching or testing all possible evidence in Gutierrez's apartment.

"You’ll see the pieces of the puzzle the state talked about don’t fit together," Muller said.

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The puzzle pieces will be put together over the next two weeks.

Judge Bruce Schroeder told the jury the trial could go as long as three weeks. Testimony in the case is set to begin Wednesday morning at 9 a.m.

A 15-member jury was selected on Monday. It consists of eight men and seven women – with three jurors serving as alternates.

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