The defense team for Luis Aguirre rested on Wednesday morning at 11:45 am in the Riley County capital murder trial. The trial is in the sentencing phase, and this morning saw the final witnesses for the defense taking the stand. Aguirre has been found guilty of murdering his 18-year-old ex-girlfriend Tanya Maldonado, and their son Juan in October of 2009.
Forensic psychologist Dr. George Athey, of the Heritage Mental Health Clinic, took the stand to testify on his findings on Luis Aguirre. Dr. Athey told the court his testing showed that Aguirre shows some brain dysfunction, but no tendency to initiate violence. However, Dr. Athey says Aguirre has a low tolerance for aggression towards his own person, and has a tendency to try to show himself in the best light. Dr. Athey says the tests indicate that in extreme stress Aguirre could do things he was not typically capable of in a normal situation. As Dr. Athey’s testimony continued he indicated that he believed Aguirre would do well within a well structured environment, and showed promise for rehabilitation. Dr. Athey told the court he also believed Aguirre showed signs of remorse over the Deaths of Tanya Maldonado and their son Juan.
In cross examination by Riley County Prosecutor Barry Wilkerson Dr. Athey admitted he hadn’t been shown other evidence in the case which might have helped to develop his conclusions. In particular the videos of police interviews might have aided in his assessment with clues on the exhibition of nonverbal cues. However, Dr. Athey testified his conclusions were sound based on his testing and the interviews he conducted during his investigation.
The last witness was the defense team’s legal assistant. She testified that Aguirre is staying active and continuing to try to self improve during his time in jail, and shared a letter Aguirre wrote to her when he found out she was battling cancer. In the letter Aguirre wrote about is own hardships, and how she should stay strong and fight the illness.
Assistant Riley County prosecutor Barry Disney cross examined the legal assistant, and pointed out that the letter was written when Aguirre knew he was going to trial. Disney referred to Dr. Athey’s testimony on how Aguirre liked to put on his best appearance to the public.
After the defense rested Judge Meryl Wilson released the jury to prepare for tomorrow mornings closing arguments. The trial will resume at 0900 am Thursday morning.