Trials for two Richland cases involving deaths of babies delayed into 2014

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldOctober 9, 2013 

The trials for two separate Richland cases involving the deaths of babies have been delayed into 2014.

Kelli A. Jacobsen and Jose Luis Aguilar both had court hearings Wednesday to discuss their pending trials.

Jacobsen, 29, is charged in Benton County Superior Court with first-degree manslaughter with two aggravating circumstances.

Her first trial ended in May with the jury deadlocked after 19 hours of deliberations over four days. She's set to face a new jury Jan. 13.

Aguilar's lawyer had hoped for a trial date later in the first half of the year, but the court scheduled it March 31.

Aguilar, 36, is charged with second-degree murder and first-degree rape of a child. The murder charge includes the aggravating circumstances that the 9-month-old victim was too young to defend herself and that the crime had a destructive impact on additional people.

Neither trial date is being considered a firm date by the defense lawyers -- Scott Johnson for Jacobsen and Shelley Ajax for Aguilar.

Both cases are set before Judge Vic VanderSchoor.

Jacobsen was the live-in nanny for Ryder Morrison, who died in June 2011 a day after celebrating his first birthday.

Doctors said Ryder's death on the operating table was from abusive head trauma, which happened minutes or possibly up to 24 hours before he was rushed to the Richland hospital.

Jacobsen was home watching Ryder. His mother, Tawney Johnson, stopped home during her half-hour lunch break but was back at work when she got the call her son was going Kadlec Regional Medical Center.

Jacobsen has maintained her innocence.

The defense at trial tried to point the finger at the mother, claiming maybe she did something to him while the two were home alone the evening of Ryder's birthday.

Aguilar was living with his girlfriend when he allegedly raped and killed her daughter during the middle of the night.

Serenity Jade Reedy was 9 months old when she was found dead in her crib the morning of June 7.

Her skull was fractured and she had a cut and injuries to her vaginal area, court documents said.

Her mother, Jennifer Reedy, told Richland police she didn't check on her daughter until 9:30 a.m. because it was normal for the girl to sleep late, documents said.

An autopsy found that, like Ryder Morrison, Serenity also died from abusive head trauma.

Aguilar is believed to have left the home sometime in the middle of the night.

He was on a Greyhound bus in California, near the Mexico border, when police tracked him down and arrested him for the baby's death.

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

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