The Kansas Supreme Court issued a decision Friday affirming the 2018 murder conviction of an Ogden man.
A jury in February 2018 declared Luis Antonio Aguirre guilty of first-degree murder of his 1-year-old son, Juan Maldonado, and voluntary manslaughter of his ex-girlfriend, Tanya Maldonado. A Riley County judge sentenced him to life in prison.
Aguirre also was found guilty of capital murder in connection with the incident during a 2012 trial, but the Kansas Supreme Court reversed that verdict after ruling police violated his rights.
Court documents said Tanya and Juan left a homeless shelter in Chicago in September 2009. A month later, a hunter found their bodies, Juan in Tanya’s arms, in a shallow grave in Ogden when he saw the bones protruding from the ground.
Reports said it was unclear how Aguirre killed the two, but then-Riley County Senior Deputy Attorney Barry Disney suggested to the jury it was strangulation.
Police eventually brought Aguirre in for questions, as he was allegedly the last person to see them alive.
Court documents said emails between Tanya and Aguirre depicted Tanya’s attempts at trying to see her ex, blaming him for her and her son’s state of affairs and Aguirre generally responding with excuses for not doing so and vague expressions of hope for a future relationship.
Disney alleged that Aguirre’s relationship with his then-fiancee served as a motive for him to kill Tanya and their son because he wanted to end that relationship.
After hearing Aguirre’s appeal, the state Supreme Court ultimately affirmed his convictions.
“This time, although we conclude that Aguirre has identified error in the district court’s decision to admit certain expert testimony, we find that the error was not reversible,” wrote Justice Evelyn Wilson in the opinion. “Finding no other errors, we affirm Aguirre’s convictions.”
A majority of the court determined Aguirre’s statements to law enforcement were voluntary, though Justice Marla Luckert dissented to that portion.