The murder trial of Juan Rosario continues into its third day of testimony in a Orange-Osceola Circuit courtroom on Wednesday. Closing arguments may happen.
The 29-year-old Floridian could get the death penalty for allegedly beating his 83-year-old neighbor Elena Ortega to death in September 18, 2013. Investigators say he stole items from her house, and started several fires to hide the evidence. Rosario faces charges of first-degree murder and arson. He is already serving 18 years in prison for an unrelated 2013 home invasion robbery that happened nearby.
Ex-girlfriend Janet Gutierrez testified on Tuesday for the prosecution. She said Rosario came home early morning September 18, 2013 with blood on his face and shirt. That’s when he allegedly admitted he robbed Ortega’s home, said he killed her because she saw his face, then went back to burn the evidence.
During Monday’s opening statement, defense lawyer Roger Weeden claimed Gutierrez was an unreliable witness. For example, he claimed she changed her story, helped Rosario hide evidence, and only came to investigators nine months after Ortega was discovered. He told the jury she got immunity in return for taking the stand.
On Monday, Ortega’s daughter, Elena Wilson, testified for the prosecution.
[Screengrab via Law Newz.com]