Aguilar pleads guilty to rape, murder of Richland baby

BENTON COUNTY, Wash. -- Jose Aguilar pleaded guilty ahead of his trial to second degree murder with two aggravating circumstances of victim vulnerability and impact on others, as well as first degree rape of a child.

The prosecutor recommended a 40 year sentence. A judge will sentence Aguilar on Wednesday, September 10, 2014. This date could be rescheduled.

The 9-month-old baby was found dead in her crib in June 2013. Aguilar was the recent boyfriend of Serenity Reedy's mother. He had moved in with the mother and daughter to a trailer park off Stevens Drive.

A forensic pathologist said the baby died of blunt trauma to the head. She had two separate skull fractures.

Jennifer Reedy told detectives she left her daughter in Aguilar's care for several hours while she did laundry and went to Walmart, according to court documents. She said Serenity sounded fine when she returned home. Reedy said Aguilar wanted to have sex that night but she told him no. She said Aguilar told her he would go take care of himself. He left to go to the bathroom and returned after 30 minutes.

Reedy said she woke up around 3:00 a.m. and Aguilar was gone, but she didn't look for him. When she checked on Serenity in the morning, she found her purple in her crib. She told investigators she thought the baby was dead and called 9-1-1.

Aguilar fled the state and told police he was in Oregon, yet agreed to return to the Tri-Cities. He claimed the baby was injured from falling off a couch. A search warrant was used to track Aguilar's cell phone. Officers found him on a Greyhound bus in Barstow, California, where they arrested him.

Aguilar was returned to the Tri-Cities to face charges.