Prosecutors announced Friday they had finished presenting their case to the jury in the homicide trial of Zachariah Anderson, the Mequon man accused of killing a Kenosha man inside his Wood Creek apartment in spring 2020.
The state rested its case at the end of the third week of the trial of Anderson in Kenosha County Circuit Court.
Anderson, 42, is accused of killing 40-year-old Gutierrez with blunt force on the evening of May 17, 2020, inside Gutierrez’s first-floor apartment on Kenosha’s north side in what prosecutors have described as a jealous rage. Prosecutors allege Anderson killed him because he was deeply upset that Gutierrez began having a romantic relationship with Sadie Beacham, his ex-girlfriend and mother of his children.
Gutierrez’s body has never been recovered. His friends and family have not heard from him in nearly three years and his credit cards have not been used. Prosecutors maintain Gutierrez is dead based on the large amount of blood spatter found inside his apartment.
People are also reading…
Gutierrez, a father of two young children, was reported missing May 19, 2020, after Beacham went to his apartment in the 3700 block of 15th Street, and found the patio door open with heavy blood stains on the floor, door and furniture. She called 911 after arriving on the scene.
Beacham testified earlier in the trial that she had been trying to reach him by phone before driving to his apartment out of deep concern for his well-being and the status of their relationship.
Kenosha Police focused on Anderson after Beacham reported that Anderson had been stalking and harassing her in the weeks after she began developing a relationship with Gutierrez.
Anderson is charged with first-degree intentional homicide, a Class A felony that carries a sentence of life in prison if convicted. Anderson is also charged with felonies of hiding a corpse and stalking.
Throughout the first three weeks of trial jurors have heard testimony from Beacham, Anderson and Beacham’s daughter, Gutierrez’s mother, a neighbor of Gutierrez, detectives and a forensic scientist, among many others. Jurors have also been shown images of Gutierrez’s blood-stained apartment, Anderson’s work van with missing carpet, bleach stains and a speck of a rust colored substance that tested positive for Gutierrez’s DNA. They were also shown security camera footage of Anderson shopping for trash bags, gloves and Clorox wipes at a Saukville Walmart the morning after he allegedly killed Gutierrez.
Prosecutors allege Anderson used his work van to move Gutierrez’s body from his apartment. There are no security cameras at the apartment complex.
After investigators executed a search warrant on Anderson’s residence they reportedly found a still-smoldering fire pit where Anderson’s jean buttons, underwear and possible remnants of steel-toed boots were found on his property.
Det. Vicente Correa, who first began testifying Thursday, took the stand again Friday morning as the state’s final witness.
Correa testified Thursday that several text messages were sent between Anderson and Beacham in the week before the Gutierrez’s death. On Thursday, Correa also showed jurors the movements Anderson allegedly made in Kenosha near Gutierrez’s residence in the days before his disappearance based on data from Anderson’s cellphone.
On Friday, Correa testified that Anderson did not answer calls or text messages or search the internet on his mobile devices on May 17, 2020 between 7:34 p.m. to 11:19 p.m., the time period Anderson is accused with killing Gutierrez.
Lengthy trial continues
Judge Bruce Schroeder is presiding over the trial before a jury of eight women and five men, which includes one alternate.
The prosecution is led by District Attorney Michael Graveley who throughout the trial has argued Anderson killed Gutierrez out of jealousy and an obsession over his ex-girlfriend.
Defense attorney Nicole Muller has argued Kenosha Police failed to look at other possible suspects and prematurely zeroed in on Anderson based on claims made by Beacham.
The defense attorneys began presenting their case Friday afternoon and said they expect to rest early next week.
The trial is expected to last another week. The prosecution and defense have repeatedly clashed in court. On Friday, the defense suggested Graveley had coached witness Marquan Washington, a former cellmate of Anderson’s, on the stand.
Last week, Washington testified about a time he reportedly observed Anderson while he was having a nightmare in their cell.
“I was laying there and I was reading my book and I heard him shout in his sleep before he woke himself up,” Washington testified last Thursday. “He said, ‘Die, die, die (expletive).”
Defense attorney John Birdsall said Graveley appeared to mouth “die, die” simultaneously with Washington and replayed a portion of video recorded by Court TV.
Graveley denied the accusation and was caught off guard by the claim. He said such claims are poison to the case and Friday was the first time the issue was brought to him.
Graveley said “this is not the first time we’ve had episodes where there have been specific representations made which were then demonstrably able to be proven false.”
“So here we are again, and so I just want to be sure the court is taking that into account when it thinks about presentation of this evidence in any fashion,” Graveley said.
Anderson remains in custody on a $750,000 cash bond.
Schroeder said “the end in site” for the unexpectedly long trial.
Anderson was previously convicted of the felony offense of possession of over 10 pounds of marijuana in Butte County, S.D., on April 16, 2020. He was scheduled to be sentenced on May 27, 2020, 10 days after he allegedly killed Gutierrez.