A Wisconsin father has been convicted of the brutal 2020 murder of his former partner’s new lover Rosalio Gutierrez Jr, who he allegedly stalked and beat to death with an object before disposing of his remains.
Zachariah Anderson, 42, was found guilty of first-degree intentional homicide, hiding a corpse and stalking in Kenosha County Circuit Court, Wisconsin, on Wednesday, following a month-long trial and 10 hours of jury deliberations.
He showed no emotion as the verdict was read out in court.
He now faces life in prison at his sentencing on 16 May – almost exactly three years to the day that his victim was last seen alive.
Guttierez’s family members – who had attended the trial dressed in Chicago Cubs gear in memory of the fan – hailed the verdict outside the courthouse on Wednesday.
“I’m eternally grateful. My husband, family and I – Rosalio – finally has justice,” said Gutierrez’s mother Selia Patterson.
The verdict marked the end of a dramatic trial in which Anderson was accused of trying to influence his teenage daughter as she testified against him – as well as the end of a chilling case where the victim’s body has never been found three years on from his disappearance.
Gutierrez, 40, had been dating Anderson’s former girlfriend Sadie Beacham – with whom the killer shares three children.
Anderson was jealous of the new relationship and was stalking his love rival prior to his death.
Here’s what we know about the case:
Guttierez was last seen or heard from on 17 May 2020.
Two days later, a concerned Ms Beacham visited his home to check on him after she couldn’t get in touch with him.
When she arrived at his apartment, she discovered the patio door open and blood on the floor, furniture and ceiling of the home.
An area rug was also missing from the property, she told investigators.
Ms Beacham contacted police who carried out a welfare check inside Gutierrez’s home.
Inside, investigators found large amounts of blood and signs of a struggle, according to a criminal complaint.
The victim’s body has never been found but investigators are sure he is dead based on the sheer volume of blood found inside his apartment.
On the evening of 17 May 2020, prosecutors said that Anderson went to Gutierrez’s apartment in Wood Creek and brutally killed him with blunt force because he was jealous about his relationship with his former partner.
He then disposed of Gutierrez’s body.
The morning after Gutierrez was last seen alive, Anderson was spotted on surveillance footage doing to a local WalMart where he bought garbage bags, latex gloves and bleach wipes.
He also bought cans of sardines.
Investigators closed in on Anderson as Ms Beacham revealed that she believed her ex was tracking her movements.
On the day Guttierez’s death was discovered, officers found burn pits smoldering at both Anderson’s home and his farm, with the remains of a bleach bottle and the accused killer’s clothing among the ashes.
Guttierez’s DNA was then also found inside Anderson’s work van and that there was evidence that the interior had been scrubbed with bleach.
Parts of the vehicle’s interior carpet had also been removed.
Bizarrely, two opened and uneaten cans of sardines were also discovered under the front passenger seat, the criminal complaint states.
On 21 May 2020, Anderson was arrested and charged with two felony counts of stalking.
That December, he was then also hit with charges of homicide and hiding a corpse.
He pleaded not guilty to all charges and has continued to maintain his innocence throughout his trial.
Jealousy and stalking
During his high-profile trial, jurors heard that Anderson was jealous of his former partner’s new relationship and was spying on the couple.
On 15 March, Anderson’s 15-year-old daughter took the stand to testify that her father had asked her to spy on her mother and record “every single time my mother would get upset”.
She testified that he would “frequently” bring up Guttierez when she saw him.
Then, not long before Guttierez’s disappearance, Anderson also allegedly took his daughter with him to spy on the couple.
On the night of 24 April – less than one month before the killing – she said that her father had driven them both to her mother’s home to watch Ms Beacham and Gutierrez through the window.
Anderson also went through Gutierrez’s truck and took photos of the vehicle’s licence plate and registration, she said.
He then rang the doorbell of the home and fled, she said.
The teenager also testified that her father told her about his plans to follow his love rival – who he referred to using a racial slur.
“He said something about showing him who the man was, and I didn’t quite understand, but you kind of caught onto things that my dad was referring to or was implying,” she said.
“My dad said to me, he said ‘I may just watch him or follow him to his house one time just for the fun of it.’ Those were his exact words to me.”
His conviction comes at the end of a dramatic trial where one of Anderson’s own children took the stand to testify against him and the judge admitted he had “lost control”.
Meanwhile, Anderson chose not to testify in his defence.
One dramatic moment unfolded inside the courtroom on 15 March when Anderson appeared to send a signal warning his teenage daughter to stop talking as she testified against him.
Anderson was seen putting his hand to his mouth and clamping his lips shut as he stared at his 15-year-old daughter on the witness stand in Kenosha County Circuit Court.
Prosecutors accused the defendant of signalling to his daughter as she testified.
Meanwhile, the defence also accused Ms Beacham of using sign language to communicate with her daughter on the stand.
In another bizarre incident in the courtroom, Judge Bruce Schroeder was heard making an outburst when he learned that the subpoena for a witness had expired.
“Oh, for crumb’s sake!” he exclaimed.
The visibly frustrated judge then added: “I feel like I’ve lost control.”