SANFORD, Fla. - In a case where DNA helped convict a man of a 2004 double murder, the same technology could free him from Florida's death row.
Clemente Aguirre, 33, was sentenced to die for the bludgeoning murders of 47-year-old Cheryl Williams and her wheelchair-bound mother, Carol Bareis, 68, who lived next door to him in Altamonte Springs.
According to police reports, Aguirre claimed he walked next door at around 6 a.m. on June 17, 2004, to get beer from his neighbors. That's where he happened upon the bodies of both victims. Williams had been stabbed 129 times. Bareis suffered a lethal stab wound to the heart.
Aguirre told authorities he did not call police because he was in the country illegally as an immigrant from Honduras.
When investigators found a knife from the restaurant he worked at the crime scene and clothes in his room with the victims' blood on them, he was arrested and later convicted for their murders.
After several denied appeals, new attorneys have taken up his fight to prove his reported innocence.
On Monday, his legal team started a hearing in Seminole County where they were expected to prove Aguirre did not kill his next door neighbors.
One attorney claimed Aguirre's blood was not found at the crime scene, instead, blood was traced to Samantha Williams, the daughter of victim Cheryl Williams.
"Throughout over 87 blood stains that were found throughout the trailer, eight belong to the victim's daughter," said attorney Maria DeLiberato. "No blood belonged to Mr. Aguirre, and that was not presented to the trial court."
The daughter has reportedly had mental issues over the last few years in incidents that include trying to set her self on fire two years ago. At that time, she told authorities demons told her to kill her family members.
What's more, Williams and her mother, Cheryl, had reportedly been arguing the night before the stabbing occurred.
In Monday's testimony, Aguirre's legal team tried to show his original lawyers failed to investigate the possibility that Samantha Williams may have been the attacker.
"I learned from various statements that she was not around and she was not there when these people were supposedly killed," said Timothy Cadill, who defended Aguirre in 2006. "I don't remember what I learned about her prior to trial."
Aguirre's current legal team hopes to call Williams to the stand sometime over the next two weeks as this hearing to exonerate him continues.
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