Cecily Aguilar gets maximum 30 years for role in Vanessa Guillén murder

Posted at 9:36 AM, August 14, 2023 and last updated 7:10 AM, August 15, 2023

By: Christian Hudspeth

WACO, Texas (Scripps News Waco) — A federal judge on Monday sentenced Cecily Aguilar to the maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine for her role in the 2020 murder of Fort Cavazos soldier Spc. Vanessa Guillén.

According to authorities, Aguilar’s boyfriend, Army Spc. Aaron Robinson, bludgeoned Guillén to death with a hammer on April 22, 2020, inside an armory room on post. That night, Aguilar helped Robinson dismember, burn and then bury Guillén’s body along the banks of the Leon River outside of Belton, where police found her remains more than a month after she was first reported missing.

When authorities confronted Robinson on July 1, he shot and killed himself.

FILE – (L) Vanessa Guillen (NamUs)/(R) Cecily Aguilar (Bell County Jail)

Aguilar was placed under arrest the same day on federal second-degree felony charges for trying to delete phone records implicating her in the crime.

“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,” 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.”

Scripps News Waco was live inside a Waco federal courtroom for Aguilar’s sentencing hearing, where grisly details about the murder were shared publicly for the first time. Justin Duck with the Texas Rangers testified that Robinson bludgeoned Guillén to death with a hammer and brought the soldier’s body to his and Aguilar’s apartment inside a large plastic tote.

The couple then traveled to Bell County, where they “chopped up and skinned her” body on the roadside near the Leon River.

Aguilar also admitted during her interrogation that Robinson had sex with Guillén’s body after the murder.

After dismembering Guillén, Aguilar and Robinson attempted to burn her remains with gasoline, Duck said. Aguilar told investigators they later sealed up parts of the body and put her flesh in a concrete mix before burying them at the crime scene.

A forensic expert testified Monday afternoon about removing parts of Guillén’s body from concrete at the crime scene and confirmed finding evidence of blunt force trauma to her skull.

Aguilar was interviewed by the Texas Rangers on three separate occasions. During the first interview, she denied involvement in Guillén’s disappearance and said she and Robinson stayed home the night of April 22.

During the second interview, Duck said investigators confronted Aguilar with cell phone data that contradicted her claims that they stayed home. Aguilar then changed her story, saying she suffers from depression and went with Robinson on a drive to “take her mind off things.”

The court also heard about Aguilar’s troubled time in custody since her 2020 arrest. She’s been given disciplinary actions for violations including: bringing in contraband, intimidating other inmates, disorderly conduct, refusing to go back into her cell and attacking officers.

She’s also been removed from general population and placed on suicide watch.

Aguilar’s attorneys called to the stand a forensic psychologist who evaluated their client on five different occasions. The psychologist diagnosed her with reactive attachment disorder, a condition in which a child fails to establish healthy attachment with parents or caregivers.

The doctor testified, however, that the condition doesn’t impair Aguilar’s thinking or ability to tell right from wrong.

The psychologist testified about claims that Robinson killed Aguilar’s pet dog to show her what would happen if she left him. The expert then told the prosecutor they could not verify if the story was true with Aguilar being the only witness.

Aguilar initially pleaded not guilty to three charges handed down by a federal grand jury indictment: one count of conspiracy to tamper with evidence, and two substantive counts of tampering with evidence.

After a judge denied several motions by Aguilar’s defense team to dismiss evidence and a confession, Aguilar was indicted on 11 counts for her role in Guillén’s death. She pleaded guilty in November 2022 to four of the 11 counts: one count of accessory to murder after the fact and three counts of false statement or misrepresentation.

This story was originally published by Scripps News Waco, an E.W. Scripps Company.