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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Former Pasco officer arrested in 1986 killing of Spokane woman

UPDATED: Tue., June 2, 2015

Spokane police have arrested the former Pasco police officer who was a suspect in the 1986 strangling death of a Spokane woman. Detectives took Richard J. Aguirre, 51, into custody after a court hearing Tuesday morning in Kennewick. He has been booked into the Spokane County Jail on a first-degree murder charge and is expected to appear in Superior court tomorrow. The arrest comes about a month after Aguirre was identified through DNA evidence as a suspect in a three-decades-old Spokane homicide case. He is accused of killing Ruby Doss (pictured below), a 27-year-old prostitute from Detroit, who was found strangled and with a head injury near the intersection of North Fiske Street and East Ferry Avenue in January 1986. Aguirre, who recently resigned after 27 years with the Pasco Police Department, also is being tried for an unrelated sexual assault that allegedly occurred in the Tri-Cities area last year. He pleaded not guilty May 6 to a third-degree rape charge in that case. Until he resigned, Aguirre had been on paid leave since the assault allegation was made in November. He was not in custody under orders not to leave Benton or Franklin counties. Spokane police say DNA that Aguirre voluntarily submitted during the rape investigation matched DNA from evidence collected at the scene of Doss’ murder. They say his DNA also is being considered in several other unsolved murders. Doss was the first of at least five Spokane women, most of them prostitutes, who were strangled between January 1986 and August 1987. Aguirre’s attorney, Scott Johnson, maintained that Aguirre did not murder Doss and said he’s disappointed about the arrest. “But we’re relieved in a sense because this has been hanging over Rich’s head for some time,” Johnson said. “Now we can actually fight the case with real facts.” Three Spokane police officers walked into Tuesday’s court hearing, which was regarding the alleged sexual assault, and arrested Aguirre, The Tri-City Herald reported. Spokane investigators previously showed up at a hearing in Franklin County Superior Court to ask Aguirre for his pass code to a cellphone seized during a search of his Pasco home, the newspaper reported. Aguirre, who has no criminal history, lived in Spokane with his wife and was stationed at the Fairchild Air Force Base during the time Doss was killed. The couple divorced in 1990, according to court records.
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