Man Charged In Fatal Stabbing While On Supervised Prison Release Set For Trial

Michael Edward Aguilar

A Tucson man arrested last May shortly after being released from prison on supervised release will stand trial in September on charges he stabbed a woman to death and tried to impede the investigation by pouring bleach on the body.

Michael Edward Aguilar has remained in the Pima County jail in lieu of $1 million bail since being arrested May 6, 2022, a few days after Cristy April Kaplowitch was found deceased in her apartment by her daughter.

Kaplowitch, 44, died of “multiple sharp force injuries,” with the autopsy report describing more than a dozen separate stab wounds as well as several lacerations or incised wounds.

Aguilar is charged with first degree murder, kidnap causing death, and felony of theft of means of transportation involving Kaplowitch’s vehicle. His eight-day trial with Judge James Marner of the Pima County Superior Court is scheduled to begin Sept. 19 with the empanelment of 12 jurors and 2 alternates.

Public records show Aguilar was released in early 2022 from state prison where he was serving time for two armed robberies committed in 2012. He was still under the supervision of the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC), but instead of being in custody Aguilar was serving a period of community supervision as part of his 11.25-year sentence.

The murder charge prompted ADC to revoke Aguilar’s release, and he has been serving out the remainder of the armed robbery sentence while at the Pima County jail. That sentence is set to expire in June 2023, according to ADC’s website.

Other court records show Aguilar sent a handwritten letter to Marner’s judicial assistant last August, advising the judge of Aguilar’s intent to represent himself in the case. The request was denied, but Aguilar made another such request in January and even signed a waiver to his right to legal counsel.

He later asked to back out of the waiver. Aguilar is now represented by Jacob Amaru, who is at least the fifth defense attorney appointed to the case since Aguilar’s arrest.

Records of Aguilar’s various pretrial hearings over the last 10 months show several of Kaplowitch’s family and friends have been in attendance. The case is being prosecuted by Virginia Aspacher of the Pima County Attorney’s Office.

Additional public records reveal Aguilar served state prison time in the late 1970s for burglary and aggravated assault. He returned to prison for 7.5 years in the 1980s, served another 3.5 years in the 1990s, and then had 10 felony convictions in 2000 and 2001 that resulted in prison time.

Aguilar returned to ADC custody after being convicted of the two 2012 armed robbery offenses.