Woman sentenced to 30 years in prison for her role in Vanessa Guillen’s killing

Published: Aug. 14, 2023 at 6:55 PM EDT
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WACO, Texas (KTWX/Gray News) - A Texas woman charged for her role in the killing of Army soldier Vanessa Guillen was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Back in November 2022, Cecily Aguilar pleaded guilty to one count of being an accessory after the fact and three counts of making a false statement in Guillen’s death investigation. She faced a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

“Our hope is that today’s sentence brings a sense of relief and justice to the Guillen family, who have endured such pain throughout these past few years,” said U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza for the Western District of Texas. “Ms. Aguilar’s actions were indefensible, and she will now face the maximum penalty for the choices she made. I’m grateful for our law enforcement partners who worked tirelessly on this case, as their dedication was essential in bringing this defendant to justice.”

During Monday’s sentencing hearing, investigators said a witness who spoke with Aguilar revealed disturbing new details about the murder of the Army soldier back in 2020.

Aguilar reportedly told the witness that the man who murdered Guillen, Aaron David Robinson, had sexual intercourse with the body of the slain soldier after she was murdered.

Aguilar is the only person charged in Vanessa’s murder. She previously admitted to helping her boyfriend Aaron Robinson dismember Vanessa’s body before burying her remains in shallow graves along the Leon River. Guillen’s suspected killer, Robinson, killed himself before her body was found.

According to testimony in court, Aguilar was interviewed by detectives on multiple occasions and she lied to detectives about her and Robinson being home all day and night the day Vanessa was missing. It wasn’t until detectives revealed that they found a body that Aguilar admitted any involvement.

Aguilar, prosecutors said, asked her and Robinson’s roommate to lie if detectives ever asked where they were the day Guillen was killed, and say they were home the whole time. The roommate eventually told the police the pair were gone all night. The roommate also said Aguilar told him Robinson had sex with Guillen’s body after she was killed.

Aguilar also told detectives she and Robinson spent that evening together as usual. At night, he took her out to the Leon River where Vanessa’s body was in a case. Aguilar told detectives “there was a hole in her head.”

According to testimony, Aguilar first told detectives Robinson held a gun to her head and demanded her help getting rid of Guillen’s body.

Aguilar later admitted that was a lie and that Robinson told her, “You’re in this now so might as well help me.” Aguilar told detectives they got the idea of how to dismember and hide Guillen’s body from watching the show “Criminal Minds.”

Aguilar revealed she bought cement from someone on Facebook marketplace and met them to pick it up at Walmart in Belton. She and Robinson spent hours trying to take apart, burn and bury Guillen’s remains, and they had to return the next day to finish.

Detectives brought Aguilar to the scene two times after making the discovery, once at night and again the next day on July 1 during daylight. Body camera footage shown in court revealed Aguilar’s demeanor was normal at the scene, even making jokes with officers.

When asked why Robinson would kill Guillen, Aguilar said he did not know, that he barely knew her. He says her name was not even saved in his phone.

Monday’s hearing was originally scheduled for April, but Aguilar’s defense attorney previously filed a motion to delay it to allow a psychiatric expert to testify.

Aguilar’s childhood was described as “horrific” by psychologist Dr. Jon Matthew Fabian, a witness for the defense. The psychiatrist testified on Monday that Aguilar suffers from Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), a condition where the child fails to form healthy emotional bonds with caretakers and parental figures, often as a result of emotional neglect or abuse at an early age.

Vanessa’s sister Mayra Guillen told KWTX that she hoped to see Aguilar receive that maximum sentence at Monday’s sentencing hearing.

“We all have different opinions on what justice is, if that’s what the law is saying then I agree with it,” Mayra said. “I know it’s going to be very hard because just the thought of previous occasions when I’ve had to see her face to face it’s tough,” Mayra said. “There are a lot of emotions.”