UPDATE: DEC. 8
After lengthy closing arguments, this 35-year-old cold case is now finally in the hands of a Spokane jury.
SPOKANE, Wash. — The Richard Aguirre murder trial continued Tuesday with witnesses testifying on the DNA at the center of this case. Prosecutors say Aguirre’s semen was found in a condom at the crime scene where the body of Ruby Doss was found in 1986.
The former-Pasco police officer dodged suspicion for decades until his DNA was uploaded to the criminal database COIDIS in 2015 in connection to a rape investigation.
Aguirre’s trial began last week and multiple current and former law enforcement officers have already taken the stand, in addition to forensic experts. One former colleague of Aguirre’s testified that Aguirre admitted to being with the victim but stated she was alive when he left.
A witness Tuesday morning showed the jury other items of evidentiary value believed to have belonged to Ms. Doss. The witness removed the property from evidence bags which included a wig covered in straw, earrings, a blue coat, a fur coat, and others.
She went on to testify about the testing of the condom located at the crime scene on a pile of straw roughly 230 feet from Doss’ body. Prosecutors say when the condom was originally tested for a DNA profile, it was “consumed” during the process. Without the condom available for further re-testing, the bag the condom was placed in was then examined. A swab of the bag found an apparent mixture of male and female DNA that was further examined.
The sperm ‘extracts’ recovered were a match to Richard Aguirre, according to the forensic expert. The witness went on to tell the jury she concluded the male and female components were "8,100 times" more likely to be a mixture of Doss and Aguirre than Aguirre and another individual in the US population.
The defense has taken repeated issue with the fact that the condom was “consumed” during testing. When asked if a condom needs to be destroyed during the testing process, the forensic expert witness responded with “typically, no.”
The defense went on to question the witness about transfer DNA and the likelihood of DNA appearing under fingernails upon a physical altercation between two people. In opening statements, the defense stated Aguirre’s DNA was not located on Ms. Doss’ body or under her fingernails. He asked the witness about her DNA findings on other items associated with this case.
“I did find DNA from other individuals, not Mr. Aguirre,” she testified.
Next to testify was a man who worked at a pornography and supplies store on Sprague Ave back in 1986. He worked as a cashier and in inventory. He knew Ruby as a customer at his store.
“She never spoke,” he testified. “She was shy, quiet. She would buy condoms with cash.”
The witness told the jury he saw Ruby the night she was killed, “somewhere around 9 p.m. or after.”
The witness testified that Ruby was very different than the other girls that came into the store.
“She seemed like she was almost ashamed or something,” he said.
The first witness Aguirre’s defense called was his older sister. She told the jury she gave birth to her oldest son on January 1, 1986 and her brother was not there, something she testified he would not have missed. She recalled her brother going to Korea on military duties in December of 1985 and said she requested and received records she believed corroborated that.
“Did I go through all of them … probably not all of them (the records),” the witness stated.
The prosecutor brought up during his turn to question the witness that Aguirre had a dentist appointment at Fairchild on January 2, 1986. The witness said she couldn’t speak to that.
Closing arguments could begin as early as Wednesday morning.