A former Pasco police officer was found innocent Thursday of raping and assaulting a woman in 2014.
It was the second trial for Richard J. Aguirre, 52, on charges of third-degree rape and fourth-degree assault.
A mistrial was declared in the first trial last summer, after another jury said it could not reach a unanimous verdict.
This week’s trial ended Thursday afternoon after two days of testimony and closing arguments. Jurors returned the verdict about 4:30 p.m. after deliberating less than 30 minutes.
Defense attorney John Henry Browne called it the right verdict in an interview after the announcement.
“It’s pretty telling when the jury comes back so quickly,” he said. “They didn’t even have time to read the jury instructions.”
Deputy Prosecutor Frank Jenny was not available for questions following the verdict.
Aguirre was accused of sexually assaulting the woman while she was staying at his home.
During closing arguments, the attorneys closed by presenting two versions of what happened in the early morning hours of Nov. 15, 2014.
Jenny accused the man of betraying the trust of a woman who grew up admiring him.
“What motive would (the woman) have to make this up?” he said. “He only had his pajama bottoms on. That tells you he was up to no good from the moment he got into bed.”
The DNA evidence confirms the woman’s story, he said. He pointed to testimony from Washington State Patrol forensic scientist Ethan Smith, who told the jury that he found a combination of the victim’s and Aguirre’s DNA on the outside seam of the victim’s underwear.
Right where it should be to confirm the victim’s story, the deputy prosecutor said.
“If she was fabricating something, it would be like knowing all the numbers in the state lottery before they were drawn,” he said.
Browne said the deputy prosecutor was creating evidence, including arguments that Aguirre took advantage of her.
“They both agreed they slept in the same bed before,” he said. “Thin air is not evidence. When Mr. Jenny comes up with these arguments and statements that come out of thin air, they are not evidence.”
Browne continued to question the amount of DNA found on the underwear, roughly 5 nanograms. His expert, Donald Riley, testified more licking of a piece of fabric would leave 100 nanograms of material behind.
“Would you make a critical decision in your life based on the quality of evidence that was presented to you in this case?” he asked.
Aguirre is still facing charges that he murdered Ruby J. Doss in Spokane County in 1986.