JUST IN: Life sentence sought as Francis Rose found guilty of West End double murder

Francis Deonte Rose was found guilty today of two counts of aggravated murder in the 2022 shooting deaths of two construction workers in the West End. The Commonwealth Attorney’s Office is now seeking a life sentence.

After a four-day-long trial, the jury found Rose guilty of two counts of aggravated murder, two counts of use of a firearm in commission of a felony and unlawful entry. He was found not guilty of burglary.

The jury didn’t believe Rose’s assertion that he acted in self-defense when he shot and killed  Adrian Dejesus Rivera Guzman, 48, and his stepson, 24-year-old Juan Carlos Anaya Hernandez, on the morning of July 16, 2022 in the northern section of the former Assembly Alexandria apartment complex in the 200 block of Century Place.

“My office will be seeking a sentence of life in prison so that this defendant cannot inflict more harm to innocent civilians,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter said in a statement. “This case was an absolute tragedy, one of the most terrible I’ve seen in a lengthy career filled with tragedies.”

Laura Hernandez said that she wants justice for her husband and son’s killer. Hernandez and her family waited outside the courthouse for hours as the jury came to its decision.

“All I want is justice, nothing else,” Hernandez said. “He killed my husband and my son.”

Police were initially called to the apartment complex in response to a burglary call for service, which then escalated when Rose got into a lethal confrontation with the victims — construction workers on a water break. He first got into a fight with Guzman, shot him in the head, and then engaged in a desperate struggle with Hernandez, who had raced to the scene. Rose shot and killed Hernandez.

Rose was soon tracked down after breaking into another apartment and found by a Fairfax County K-9 officer hiding stark naked under a bed.

Porter said he appreciated the jury’s decision.

“I sincerely appreciate the efforts of the jury, 12 outstanding citizens who were forced to confront the defendant’s atrocities,” he said. “I would like to thank the efforts of the detectives who investigated this matter. I also praise the professional manner in cwhich this case was prosecuted, and praise Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys Maana Parcham and Joe Martin for their efforts.”

The sentencing date will be determined next week, Porter said.