Jose Luis Aguilar pleads innocent in baby's death

Tri-City HeraldJune 19, 2013 

Jose Aguilar Arraignment

File photo: Jose Luis Aguilar is arraigned in June 2013 in Benton County Superior Court.


A Richland man charged with manslaughter in the death of his girlfriend's 9-month-old daughter pleaded innocent Wednesday.

Jose Luis Aguilar, 36, was arrested on a Greyhound bus in Barstow, Calif., on June 8, a day after his girlfriend, Jennifer Reedy, found her baby, Serenity Reedy, dead in her crib in Richland.

Superior Court Judge Vic VanderSchoor appointed lawyer Shelley Ajax to represent Aguilar, who said he couldn't afford an attorney. Wednesday's hearing was Aguilar's first court appearance since being extradited to Kennewick.

The judge also scheduled an Aug. 5 trial date with a pretrial hearing July 17.

Serenity died from "abusive head trauma" and had a cut and injuries to her vaginal area, court documents said. An autopsy performed by Dr. Carl Wigren, a forensic pathologist from Seattle, showed she also had two separate skull fractures and bleeding in part of her brain.

Jennifer Reedy's car was missing and Aguilar was gone when she woke up on the morning of June 7, officials said. When she called Aguilar, he was on his way to California.

Richland police tracked Aguilar from his cellphone's GPS. They believe he was on his way to Mexico.

Aguilar told police that Serenity fell 15 inches to the ground from a couch while he was taking care of her, court documents said. Wigren told authorities that the girl's head injuries could not have come from such a fall.

Aguilar is a Level 1 sex offender, Richland police have said. A Level 1 sex offender is considered the least likely to commit another offense, with Level 3 the most likely.

Officials also have said that Aguilar has a criminal history.

Aguilar had lived with Jennifer Reedy in her home on Log Lane in Richland for about a month when Serenity died, officials said.

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