Texas woman sentenced to 30 years in prison for role in killing of U.S. soldier Vanessa Guillén

Texas woman sentenced to 30 years in prison for role in killing of U.S. soldier Vanessa Guillén

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A Texas woman was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Monday for helping to dispose of the body of U.S. soldier Vanessa Guillén, who was killed in 2020.

Cecily Aguilar, 25, pleaded guilty last year to one count of accessory to murder and three counts of false representation or making a false statement. Aguilar was given the maximum allowable sentence.

“Our hope is that today’s sentence brings a sense of relief and justice to the Guillén family, who have endured such pain throughout these past few years,” U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza for the Western District of Texas said. “Ms. Aguilar’s actions were indefensible, and she will now face the maximum penalty for the choices she made.”

According to a criminal complaint, Army Specialist Aaron Robinson, the suspect accused of killing Guillén, told Aguilar he had killed a female soldier at Ford Hood on April 22, 2020, by hitting her in the head with a hammer and that he’d brought the body to a site in Bell County, Texas.

“Subsequently, Robinson enlisted the help of Aguilar in disposing of the dead female’s body,” the Department of Justice said when federal charges against Aguilar were first announced. “The complaint further alleges that at a later time Aguilar recognized the deceased, whom she helped Robinson mutilate and dispose of, as Vanessa Guillén.”

Prosecutors claimed Aguilar aided Robinson in “corruptly altering, destroying, mutilating and concealing evidence—that is, the body of Vanessa Guillén—in order to prevent Robinson from being charged with and prosecuted for any crime.” She was also accused of making “four materially false statements to federal investigators” during the investigation after Guillén’s disappearance. 

Robinson shot and killed himself when confronted by police in July 2020.

Guillén’s family has said they believe she was sexually harassed during her time at the Texas military base. They filed a lawsuit last year seeking $35 million in damages from the U.S. government. The U.S. Army released a report in April 2021 saying officers at Fort Hood ignored Guillén’s complaints of sexual harassment. 

Guillén’s killing and the subsequent investigation prompted other women to share their own experiences of alleged abuse at the base.

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