The woman accused of helping Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen’s killer dismember and bury her body in 2020 appeared in court Tuesday as attorneys wrangled over the charges and set a trial date.
Cecily Aguilar was indicted last year on 11 counts for her role in Guillen’s disappearance and death in April 2020, as CrimeOnline previously reported.
Initially charged with conspiracy to destroy evidence and destroying evidence, the grand jury indicted Aguilar on charges of accessory after the fact, destruction, alteration or falsification of records in a federal investigation, and false statement or representation.
During a session behind closed doors, the attorneys and the judge settled on January 23, 2023, for the start of the trial, KXXV reported.
In open court, Aguilar’s attorneys questioned two of the counts, arguing that “destroying records, documents, and other objects” and destroying “information contained in a Google account” wasn’t clear enough, but the judge denied the motions.
Aguillar is accused of helping her boyfriend, Aaron Robinson, dismember, burn, and dispose of Guillen’s body after Robinson, also a soldier, killed her. A report from the Texas Department of Public Safety said that Aguilar told investigators Robinson killed Guillen with a hammer after she saw a photograph of Aguilar — who was married to another soldier at the time — on Robinson’s phone, CrimeOnline reported.
“He told her he was worried about getting in trouble for violating the Army’s fraternization rules since Aguilar was still married to another soldier and he hit Guillen in the head with a hammer,” the report said.
Robinson stuffed Guillen’s body into a Pelican case and called Aguilar to help him dispose of the body. The search for Guillen continued into the summer, when her body was found near the Leon River. Robinson committed suicide as investigators closed in on him, and Aguilar is the only person charged in the case. She initially confessed to her role but later unsuccessfully tried to have her confession thrown out, saying Robinson forced her at gunpoint to assist him.
Guillen’s death prompted an outcry about violence and harassment in the US Army — Guillen has previously been sexually harassed but feared reporting it because of the possibility of retaliation. In the aftermath, both the state of Texas and US government enacted laws covering sexual harassment, with the I Am Vanessa Guillen Act making sexual harassment an offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and Texas’s Vanessa Guillen Act allowing military victims of sexual assault to step outside the chain of command to seek justice.
And last week, Guillen’s family filed a $35 million lawsuit against the US government alleging that military leaders failed to address sexual harassment on base even when reported.
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[Feature Photo: Cecily Aguilar; Bell County Sheriff’s Office/Vanessa Aguilar; Family Handout]