A tragic moment unfolded inside a Wisconsin courtroom when a father appeared to send a signal warning his teenage daughter not to speak up while she was testifying against him in his prison sentence.
Accused killer Zacharias Anderson was seen putting his hand to his mouth and closing his lips as he stared at his 15-year-old daughter on the witness stand in Kenosha County Courthouse on Wednesday.
Anderson, 42, is accused of the brutal murder of Rosalo Gutierrez Jr., who disappeared from his Wood Creek condo in May 2020.
Gutierrez, 40, had been dating Anderson’s ex-girlfriend Sadie Beecham – with whom the accused killer shares children.
Prosecutors allege Anderson was jealous of the new relationship and was stalking his love rival.
On the evening of May 17, 2020, he allegedly went to Gutierrez’s apartment and brutally murdered him with blunt force.
Prosecutors alleged that he then disposed of Gutierrez’s body.
Two days later, Gutierrez was reported missing by Mrs. Beecham when she became concerned and visited his home, only to discover the patio door was open and blood on the floor, furniture, and ceiling.
The victim’s body was never found, but investigators believe he died based on the large amount of blood found inside his apartment.
Mr. Anderson was arrested and charged with first degree murder, concealment of body and stalking.
During his high-profile trial on Wednesday, Anderson’s 15-year-old daughter took the stand to testify before the state about her father’s behavior in the lead-up to Gutierrez’s death.
The 15-year-old told the jury her father asked her to spy on her mother and record “every time my mother got angry.” Kenosha News.
Shortly before Gutierrez’s disappearance, Mr. Anderson allegedly took his daughter with him to spy on the couple and told her of his plans to pursue his love rival – whom he referred to using a racial slur.
She said, “He said something about showing him who the guy was, and I didn’t quite understand, but you kind of caught on to things my dad was or was referring to.”
My dad said to me, “I might just watch him or follow him home once just for the fun of it.” Those were his exact words to me.
At one point during the teen’s testimony, Mr. Anderson appeared to point at her from the defense table – with a nod to his mouth.
The prosecution accused the accused of making references to his daughter while she was giving evidence.
Meanwhile, the defense also accused Ms Beecham of using sign language to communicate with her daughter on the stand.
The tumult came when the daughter’s testimony supported the prosecution’s argument that Anderson was jealous of his ex-partner’s new relationship.
She testified that he was “frequently” attending Gutierrez when she saw him.
Then, on the night of April 24—less than a month before the murder—she says her father drove them to her mother’s house to spy on Mrs. Beecham and Gutierrez inside.
She said Anderson then drove past Gutierrez’s truck and took pictures of the vehicle’s license plate and registration.
Then he rang the doorbell and ran away, she said.
Weeks later on May 16 — the day before Gutierrez was seen alive — Anderson’s daughter described him driving her and her siblings in his work wagon.
Prosecutors questioned her about the condition of the truck—including whether or not it had stains of bleach and missing carpeting that day.
She testified that she did not.
Prosecutors said Guterres’ DNA was found inside the truck and that there was evidence the interior had been cleaned with bleach.
Parts of the interior carpet have also been removed.
Mr Anderson faces a life sentence over the charges.
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