Richland man charged with child rape, murder

A Richland man is facing new charges of second-degree murder and rape of a child after the death of his girlfriend's 9-month-old daughter.

Jose Luis Aguilar pleaded innocent to the charges Wednesday in Benton County Superior Court after Prosecutor Andy Miller filed the amended information.

The charge of second-degree murder includes two aggravating circumstances -- that the baby, Serenity Jade Reedy, was too young to defend herself and the crime had a destructive impact on additional people, according to court documents.

Aguilar originally was accused of manslaughter in the baby's death.

Jennifer Reedy, 31, found her baby dead in her crib early June 7. The baby's skull was fractured and she had a cut and injuries to her vaginal area, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Reedy left Aguilar with the baby when she went to do laundry and to the store June 6. When she got home around 9 p.m., the baby was in her crib making "normal sounds," she told police.

She last saw Aguilar when they were in bed together about midnight, but he was not there when she woke up at 3 a.m. and again at 5 a.m., according to the affidavit.

When she got out of bed she saw that her car was missing and cash from her purse was gone, the affidavit said. She called Aguilar, who told her he was in Oregon on his way to California.

It was normal for the baby to sleep late so Reedy did not check on her until 9:30 a.m., when she found her lifeless in the crib, according to documents.

A Richland police detective called Aguilar that afternoon, and Aguilar said that the baby fell off the couch, the affidavit said. Aguilar said he left because he got upset with Reedy, the affidavit said.

Aguilar was arrested that night on a Greyhound bus at a station in Barstow, Calif., after police tracked him using the GPS in his cellphone. He was within two hours of the Mexico border. Because Barstow officials only could hold Aguilar for six hours, a manslaughter charge was initially filed to keep him in custody based on the limited information available then, Miller said.

Aguilar is due in court again July 10. He pleaded Wednesday before Judge Bruce Spanner but the case has been assigned to Judge Vic VanderSchoor.

-- Annette Cary: 582-1533; acary@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @HanfordNews