Judge hears Aguirre defense’s motion to suppress evidence

By Katherine Wartell

Luis Aguirre appeared in district court Wednesday with defense lawyer Jeffrey Wicks to request suppression of evidence obtained from search warrants that Wicks argued was inappropriately executed.

Aguirre, 24, is accused of the 2009 murder of his ex-girlfriend Tanya Maldonado, 18, and their 15-month-old son, Juan, whose bodies were found near Ogden. Police arrested him on Oct. 30, 2009 in Texas, where they also executed search warrants of a residential trailer in which Aguirre was staying and a Jeep Grand Cherokee that he had allegedly driven from Ogden to Texas.

District Judge Meryl Wilson did not rule on the motions Wednesday, telling the court he would need time to research prior cases prior to making his decision.

Aguirre is confined to the Riley County Jail on $2.5 million bond. He could face the death penalty if found guilty of first-degree murder. The decision to seek the death penalty is a first for Riley County since its reinstatement in 1994.

In court, both the state and defense acknowledged that the search warrants did not specifically list 12 items, including DNA evidence and baby clothes, police were authorized to search for in the trailer and the Jeep. The items were instead listed in an affidavit that was also signed by the Texas judge who issued the warrants.

Wicks argued that there was no evidence anyone with the authority to legally incorporate the affidavit to the warrants was present when the warrant was executed at the trailer, which would mean police officers would not have an outlined list of what items could be seized. He argued the warrant was therefore ineffective on its face.

He also argued that police officers did not have the authority to seize the entire Jeep and transport it to Kansas, saying the warrant only gave them authority to seize items listed on the warrant. He said officers had the authority to seize the vehicle for purposes of holding it and then remove the items listed.

But, he maintained that the warrant for the Jeep, on its face, also did not list what to seize, and that there is no evidence that someone was there to legally incorporate the affidavit listing the 12 authorized items.

Barry Disney, assistant county attorney, argued that the warrants were executed appropriately and that there is no indication police officers did not have the authority to take the Jeep across state lines. He said that officers had the authority to seize the Jeep and that they applied for a search warrant in Kansas once they had transported it to the state.

Jury selection is set to begin on June 5 and opening statements are scheduled for June 18.

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