Texas – A Texas woman has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for her role in the murder of Army soldier Vanessa Guillen. The sentencing came after Cecily Aguilar, in November 2022, admitted guilt to one count of being an accessory after the fact and three counts of making a false statement related to Guillen’s death investigation.
Cecily Aguilar was given maximum sentence
Aguilar, who faced a maximum sentence of 30 years and a fine of up to $1 million, was handed the maximum penalty as U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza for the Western District of Texas addressed the court.
“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, the court heard disconcerting new details regarding the 2020 murder of the Army soldier. Investigators cited a witness who had reportedly spoken with Aguilar, who, in turn, disclosed the chilling actions of Aaron David Robinson, the man who murdered Guillen. According to Aguilar, Robinson sexually violated the remains of the slain soldier post-mortem.
Cecily Aguilar remains the only suspect formally charged in connection to Vanessa Guillen murder
Aguilar remains the only individual formally charged in connection with Vanessa Guillen’s murder. She had previously confessed to assisting her boyfriend, Aaron Robinson, in dismembering the body of Vanessa Guillen and subsequently burying the remains in shallow graves along the Leon River. Robinson, who was suspected of being Guillen’s killer, tragically took his own life before her remains were discovered.
Court testimonies revealed that Aguilar was interrogated by detectives multiple times and repeatedly lied regarding her whereabouts, as well as Robinson’s, on the day Guillen went missing. She had initially claimed that they both remained at home throughout the entire day and night. Only when detectives disclosed that a body had been found did Aguilar acknowledge any involvement.
Prosecutors further revealed that Aguilar had attempted to cover up the crime by urging the roommate she shared with Robinson to lie on their behalf if detectives inquired about their whereabouts on the day Guillen was murdered. Aguilar had requested that the roommate assert that the couple had been home throughout the entire day. However, the roommate eventually divulged to the police that the pair had been absent throughout the night and shared the disturbing revelation that Aguilar had told him Robinson had violated Guillen’s body after taking her life.
In an investigation into the grisly death of Vanessa Guillen, Cecily Aguilar confessed to detectives that she had accompanied Aaron Robinson to the Leon River on the evening of the incident, where Vanessa’s remains were found inside a case with a hole in her head. Initially, Aguilar testified that Robinson had coerced her into aiding in the disposal of Guillen’s body by holding a gun to her head. However, she later recanted this version of events, admitting to detectives that it was untrue. Instead, Robinson had told her, “You’re in this now so might as well help me,” Aguilar disclosed.
Drawing inspiration from an episode of the television show “Criminal Minds,” the pair concocted a plan to dismember and conceal Guillen’s remains. Aguilar disclosed that she had procured cement for the task from an individual on Facebook Marketplace and had arranged to meet them at a Walmart in Belton for the pick-up. Together, Aguilar and Robinson labored through the night, attempting to dismantle, incinerate, and bury the remains. They were forced to return the following day to complete their gruesome task.
Following the grim discovery of the body, detectives accompanied Aguilar to the scene on two separate occasions – once under the cloak of darkness and again in daylight on July 1. According to body camera footage presented in court, Aguilar appeared unfazed and even exchanged jokes with officers during these visits.
When questioned as to why Robinson would murder Guillen, Aguilar claimed that he barely knew her, and Guillen’s name wasn’t even saved in his phone.
The sentencing hearing, originally slated for April, was postponed to allow time for a psychiatric expert to testify on Aguilar’s behalf. Dr. Jon Matthew Fabian, a psychologist and defense witness, described Aguilar’s upbringing as “horrific” and testified that she suffers from Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), a condition characterized by an inability to form healthy emotional connections with caretakers and parental figures, often stemming from early emotional neglect or abuse.
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.”