SANFORD, Fla. — Clemente Aguirre-Jarquin, who spent 10 years on death row for the stabbing murders of two Seminole County people, is a free man.
Aguirre was released from jail Monday after state attorneys decided to drop charges against him.
- Clemente Aguirre-Jarquin was convicted for 2004 murders
- Florida Supreme Court overturned the conviction
- DNA evidence implicated someone else
"While I believe there is sufficient evidence to present this case to a jury and determine the credibility of all the witnesses, I do not believe we can meet the additional requirement mandated by the Supreme Court, of a reasonable likelihood of success at trial," said State Attorney Phil Archer, who represents a circuit court district that includes Brevard and Seminole counties.
Aguirre was found guilty of murder in the 2004 stabbing deaths of former neighbors Cheryl Williams and Carole Bareis.
Aguirre has always professed his innocence. He claims he found Williams and Bareis dead in their trailer. He checked to see if they were breathing and then, worried the murderer might still be inside, he picked up a knife near Williams' body, then panicked and threw it into the yard.
Aguirre originally told police he knew nothing about the murders because he was an immigrant from Honduras and feared being deported. But then later in the day he confessed to discovering the bodies.
He was originally convicted and sentenced to death in 2006.
In 2016, the Florida Supreme Court unanimously overturned the conviction based on new evidence, including DNA testing of several pieces of evidence that implicated another suspect.
According to the Innocence Project, which helped Aguirre appeal his conviction, that other suspect confessed to the murders to several friends and acquaintances, and even one that was captured on police video.
Archer's office tried to try Aguirre and seek the death penalty a second time, and while prosecutors still believe there are credibility issues regarding Aguirre's side of the story, they don't believe there is a need to keep him in jail any longer.
The state attorney's office and the Seminole County Sheriff's Office will be going over the evidence to see if there are any other actions that need to be taken with this case.