A woman who helped dismember the body of slain Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen has pleaded guilty to multiple charges.
Just weeks before her trial was scheduled to begin, 24-year-old Cecily Aguilar pleaded guilty to four of the 11 federal charges against her: one count of accessory to murder after the fact and three counts of false statement or representation.
Guillen was just 20 years old when she disappeared in April 2020. Two months later, her remains were unearthed near the Leon River in Belton, Texas. Prosecutors believe that fellow Fort Hood soldier Aaron David Robinson bludgeoned Guillen to death after she spotted a photo of Aguilar on his phone and confronted him about the relationship, which was against the Army’s fraternization rules. Aguilar, a civilian gas station worker in nearby Killeen, was still married to another soldier when she began her relationship with Robinson.
Robinson confessed to Aguilar that he used a hammer to kill Guillen and moved her body off the Army base. That is when Aguilar says she was forced to help get rid of Guillen’s body. The duo burned and dismembered the young woman before burying her near the river, where she was ultimately found. Before the two disposed of Guillen, Aguilar says Robinson sexually assaulted her lifeless body. Instead of facing justice in the case, Robinson took his own life in June 2020 after authorities discovered Guillen’s body.
Guillen’s case garnered international attention, spotlighting the Army base that failed to search for the young woman in the weeks after her disappearance. Before her death, Guillen told her loved ones that she was sexually assaulted on base, a claim the Army initially denied but would later confirm. This exposed several more incidents of violence against women on the base with little remedy.
Through her shocking guilty plea, Aguilar has waived her rights to a trial set to begin in January 2023. She will now await sentencing, facing a maximum of 30 years in prison plus 12 years of supervised release and a $1 million fine.
Guillen’s sister, Mayra, expressed mixed emotions with the sudden guilty plea but found comfort in knowing that Aguilar would be in prison for years to come.