BLOOD WILL TELL: Clemente Aguirre Was Innocent

Clemente “Shorty” Aguirre thought he had finally found a place beyond the reach of death. He had fled threats and violence in his home country, Honduras, after refusing to join a gang. When he saw his best friend’s body dumped in front of his house, he got the message to join or be killed as well. A grueling journey through Nicaragua and Mexico, then across the Rio Grande, got him to his sister’s house in Florida. He got a job, found a place to stay in a trailer park, and looked forward to a chance at a new life. That all came crashing down when went over to his friend Samantha’s place to cadge a beer and found a gruesome scene inside: Sam’s mother and grandmother lay slaughtered, stabbed multiple times in a trailer now spattered (the forensic term is blood spatter, not blood splatter) with blood. Were they still alive? He checked the bodies, getting smeared in blood, then heard a noise. In his panic, Clemente picked up the murder weapon, a knife on the floor, thinking the killer was still inside. Then he ran back home, tossed the knife away onto the grass, and tried to hide his bloody clothes. An illegal immigrant would never be believed, he thought. Those misjudgments were enough to help convict him and ultimately send him to Death Row. But then The Innocence Project got involved, and discovered that over 150 blood samples were collected at the scene, but not one had ever been analyzed for DNA. When that evidence was finally properly examined, a very difference picture of the crime emerged. Clemente would be exonerated, and is now able to share his experiences.