Baby’s DNA now can be tested in Richland rape, murder case

Tri-City HeraldOctober 2, 2013 

Prosecutor Andy Miller said a state forensic scientist can test DNA samples collected after the June death of a Richland baby now that the defense has an expert on board.

“We want to try to get that done,” Miller said in the case of Jose Luis Aguilar.

Aguilar, 36, is charged with raping and killing Serenity Jade Reedy.

The 9-month-old girl was found dead in her crib with a fractured skull and injuries to her vaginal area, according to court documents.

An autopsy found she died from abusive head trauma.

Aguilar was the live-in boyfriend of the baby’s mother.

In September, Miller argued that the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab has been waiting two months to do the tests, but was delayed because Aguilar’s lawyer hadn’t hired an expert.

Prosecutors wanted to give lawyer Shelley Ajax the option to have someone witness the analysis because all of the DNA is expected to be used up in the testing.

The DNA is on swabs that were taken from Serenity’s body, as well as a beer bottle and a piece of hair that was found on the bottle.

The forensic scientist also will be checking swabs from Aguilar taken after his arrest.

Miller asked for another hearing next Wednesday to confirm that everything is in order and the testing has been done, or is at least scheduled.

Aguilar’s trial is set Nov. 4.

Ajax said she is working on a scheduling order in the case so they can have a more realistic trial date.

At the time of his arrest, Aguilar was a Level 1 sex offender, meaning he was considered the least likely to re-offend.

He has a 1998 conviction for having sex with a 15-year-old girl in Kansas, Capt. Mike Cobb told the Herald.

The degree of Aguilar’s rape conviction is unclear.

He also has at least two Benton County convictions for failing to register as a sex offender.

Cobb said it does not appear that Aguilar has any other violent crimes or sex crimes on his record.

-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; kkraemer@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service