This week, family members and supporters of slain Spc. Vanessa Guillen are holding a rally in Washington D.C. to change federal law regarding how sexual misconduct is handled in the military. They hope Congress will pass Amendment 3870 in the National Defense Authorization Act, which would allow service members to make claims against the government if they're victims of sexual misconduct in the military.
Guillen was a victim of that, and much more.
Guillen was brutally murdered in 2020 by another enlisted soldier, Aaron David Robinson, in the armory at Fort Hood.
Before Guillen’s death, she told her family she’d been sexually harassed by an unnamed soldier at Ft. Hood, and complaints by other female soldiers against him had been dismissed.
In April of 2020 Guillen disappeared, and in June, her dismembered remains were found buried along the Leon River.
After he heard about the discovery of the remains, Robinson fled, and fatally shot himself when law enforcement attempted to apprehend him.
Robinson’s girlfriend at the time, Cecily Aguilar, was arrested for allegedly assisting him in dismembering and disposing of Guillen’s body. She was charged with one count of conspiring with Robinson to dispose of Guillén’s body, and two counts of attempting to dispose of her body. She was then indicted on 11 other counts.
As Task and Purpose reports, according to court documents, Aguilar allegedly told investigators that Robinson told her he’d “struck a female soldier in the head with a hammer multiple times” in an arms room at Fort Hood. Robinson allegedly drove Guillén’s remains to an area near a river close to the Texas base, unloaded the remains, and went back to pick Aguilar up at the gas station where she worked. Robinson took Aguilar out to the river and showed her Guillén’s remains, and Aguilar allegedly told investigators that she and Robinson dismembered the soldier’s body. After first attempting and failing to burn the remains, they then decided to bury the body in “three separate holes.”
Four days later on April 26, Aguilar and Robinson allegedly returned to the burial site, dug up Guillén’s body, and again tried to break down her remains. Aguilar allegedly told investigators all of this the night Robinson fled Fort Hood. Investigators had Aguilar call Robinson who “never denied anything.” At one point Robinson said during the phone call: “Baby they found pieces, they found pieces.”
It’s a gruesome, unthinkable act, but Aguilar’s legal team is now trying to get the charges dropped.
Aguilar’s lawyers argue the charges in the second indictment are “unconstitutionally vague” and “raise the risk of multiple trials for the same conduct.”
They say the allegations that Aguilar altered, destroyed, or mutilated, and concealed “any record, document, and other object” do not specifically include a human body, and should therefore be dismissed.
They use the same argument against charges that Aguilar attempted to destroy or conceal information in Aaron Robinson’s Google account, because information in a Google account “is neither ‘tangible,’ nor a ‘record, document, or object.’”
Finally, Aguilar’s defense team argues that nine of the 11 counts against her should be dismissed because they basically allege the same misconduct multiple times. The prosecution often does this to cover its bases and give a jury options for what they would hold against the defendant.
Guy Womack, a military defense attorney and legal expert, says it’s not uncommon for defense teams to file these types of motions, but it’s unlikely cases will be dismissed because of them.
What it does do is clog up the courts, rack up bills for the legal team, and prolong the agony of the family who wishes to have closure.
That’s “justice” for you.
The hearing for the motion to dismiss is on Dec. 8.