Former Pasco officer pleads not guilty to 1986 Spokane murder

SPOKANE, Wash. — The former Pasco Police officer facing charges in the 1986 murder of a Spokane woman pleaded not guilty on Wednesday.

Richard Aguirre was recently recharged with first-degree murder for Ruby Doss’ death and was in court this week for his arraignment.

He was previously charged in the case in 2015 when his DNA matched with a sample taken from a condom found next to Doss’ body, but charges were dropped in 2017 due to “significant evidentiary issues.”

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According to court records, Doss was strangled and her body was found next to a building in east Spokane. At the time, she was working as a prostitute going by the street name “Memphis.”

A passerby found Doss’ body and called police. When they arrived on scene, officers determined she had not been dead for very long. Detectives were able to track footprints from a nearby manure pit where a sexual encounter between Doss and her killer likely took place.

Detectives found boot impressions, leading them to believe Doss had tried to get away, but was chased down by her killer. Court records show she had been hit in the back of the head, then strangled.

As part of their investigation, detectives found Doss’ coat, wig and earrings, buried in the manure pit nearby. That’s where they believe the sexual encounter took place. Police also found a steak knife nearby, along with a used condom.

In 1989, detectives sent the condom to a lab in New York where DNA was collected. In 2001, the DNA sample was submitted to a lab in Virginia, which was able to create a profile, but there were no matches in the nationwide database.

A break in the case came in 2015, when a forensic scientist in the Washington State Patrol lab matched the DNA to a profile submitted in Pasco. That DNA belonged to Aguirre, who had resigned from the Pasco Police Department and was under investigating for raping a family member. He was later found innocent of raping his niece in Franklin County.

Court documents show Aguirre was stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base from 1984-1988. During their investigation, police tracked down friends and family of Aguirre, who said he used to visit strip clubs and picked up prostitutes on East Sprague.

One man told police that “after a night of drinking, Aguirre admitted that he ‘hit a woman in the head’ and ‘choked her.’” The friend said Aguirre told him he thought the woman was still moving when he walked away.

Police also questioned Aguirre’s sisters, who said he told them he remembered having an encounter with a girl during that time, but didn’t know if she was a prostitute and wasn’t sure if it was Doss.

Aguirre remains out of jail on release with conditions.

RELATED: Former Pasco officer recharged with murder in 1986 killing of Spokane woman

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