- Associated Press - Friday, May 1, 2015

PASCO, Wash. (AP) - The attorney for a former Pasco police officer who’s been named as a suspect in the 1986 death of a Spokane prostitute said his client denies killing the woman, a newspaper reported Friday.

Attorney Scott Johnson said it is no surprise that the DNA of his client, Richard J. Aguirre, was found on the woman’s body.

“There was a possibility the two had come in contact with each other,” Johnson said. “The fact his DNA may have been there does not come as a surprise.”

The Tri-City Herald (bit.ly/1IvLWFk ) reported Friday that Johnson declined to say how his client and Ruby J. Doss, 27, might have met. Doss worked as a prostitute in Spokane at the time of her death.

Johnson said Aguirre, 50, denied killing Doss, whose body was found in January 1986. She had been beaten and strangled.

Aguirre resigned last week from the Pasco Police Department amid an unrelated rape investigation. The former Officer of the Year in Pasco had been on paid leave since November, when the rape allegations surfaced.

On Thursday, Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant in Pasco filed third-degree rape charges against Aguirre. Sant’s office released few details about the rape case, other than the incident reportedly happened Nov. 15, court records show.

As part of the rape investigation, authorities entered Aguirre’s DNA into a national database called CODIS, which already had a DNA profile taken from the scene of Doss’ murder.

When Aguirre’s DNA came back as a match for DNA found with Doss’ body, Spokane police searched Aguirre’s Pasco home in mid-April and seized several items, police and Johnson confirmed.

Aguirre has not been charged with any crimes in the Doss case and is not in custody.

Aguirre lived in Spokane in 1986 while stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base. Aguirre’s attorney said his client left Spokane sometime in 1987. Pasco hired him as a patrolman in 1988.

Spokane police said they are investigating whether Aguirre is linked to other, similar unsolved murders. Between 1986 and 1987 there were a series of unsolved homicides in the Spokane area in which women were strangled.

The Spokesman-Review of Spokane reported that Mary Ann Turner, 30, a prostitute, was killed nearly 11 months after Doss died. A former topless dancer, Kathleen Dehart, 37, was strangled in July 1987.

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Information from: Tri-City Herald, https://www.tri-cityherald.com

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