Aguilar pleads innocent to harsher charges in baby's death

Jose Luis Aguilar, of Richland, is facing new charges of second-degree murder and rape of a child after the death of his girlfriend’s 9-month-old daughter.

He pleaded innocent to the two charges Wednesday in Benton County Superior Court after prosecuting attorney Andy Miller filed amended information.

The charge of second-degree murder included two aggravating circumstances.

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 June 7 Friday morning in her crib.

The baby’s skull was fractured and she suffered a cut and injuries to her vaginal area, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Jennifer Reedy had last seen Aguilar in bed with her 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.

Aguilar was arrested Saturday night on a Greyhound bus at a station in Barstow, Calif., within two hours of the Mexico border, according to information from the affidavit and Miller.

Because Barstow officials would hold him for only six hours, a manslaughter charge was initially filed against Aguilar based on the limited information available then.