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Mistrial declared in murder case involving former Pasco police officer

Richard Aguirre was previously charged with murder of a Spokane woman in 2015, but it was dismissed in 2017 due to a lack of evidence.

SPOKANE, Wash. — A judge declared a mistrial in the murder case involving former Pasco police officer Richard Aguirre on Thursday.

Richard Aguirre is charged with first-degree murder for the death of a 27-year-old Ruby Doss. Her body was found near the old Playfair Horse tracks in Spokane in 1986. A new trial date is set for March 7, 2022.

Aguirre was previously charged with her murder in 2015 but it was dismissed in 2017 due to a lack of evidence. He is being tried again for the murder because Spokane County prosecutors believe they have evidence needed to convict him.

Tuesday morning was the last chance for attorneys to convince the jury that Richard Aguirre is either innocent or guilty of murdering Ruby Doss. 

The state argued, the victim was in the fight of her life. And that she died at the hands of Aguirre.

"Was she already dead when he left her or was she in the process of dying?" Spokane County prosecutor Stefanie Collins said. "Whichever is the case, it's the actions of this man that ended her life."

But the Aguirre's defense attorney, John Browne said if Aguirre was the killer, his DNA would have been all over the victim. Not just on the condom found at the scene.

"You can't be in a fight without leaving DNA on somebody," Browne said. "Purple leg warmers, red leg warmers, blue socks, white socks, underpants--where there was DNA found--was NOT Mr. Aguirre's."

The prosecutor acknowledges there was unidentified DNA in the victim's waste band. But suggests an explanation for this.

"She reluctantly sold sex for a living," Collins said. "We have no idea when the DNA got onto her waist band. But we do know when that condom was left there. commensurate with the time of her death."

Still, the prosecutor maintains Aguirre acted with intent and murdered Doss when he did not get what he wanted. Then, he tried to cover up evidence at the scene.

The jury is now deliberating if the evidence convicts Aguirre of this murder.

Aguirre is charged with first degree murder. But the judge gave instructions that the jury could decide on a lesser charge--including second degree murder or first-degree manslaughter.