Court documents filed on May 19 by Texas officials revealed a potential motive in the 2020 murder of Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen.
Cecily Aguilar, the only defendant charged in the murder, told investigators that Spc. Aaron Robinson hit Guillen in the head with a hammer after Guillen saw a picture of Aguilar on Robinson’s phone, according to a 61-page Texas Department of Public Safety investigation
“Aguilar later explained why Robinson killed Guillen, saying Guillen saw Robinson’s cellphone lock screen, which contained a picture of Aguilar,” the Texas DPS document reads. “[Robinson] told her he was worried about getting in trouble for violating the Army’s fraternization rules since Aguilar was still married to another soldier and he hit Guillen in the head with a hammer.”
Robinson died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound when approached by law enforcement on July 1, 2020, according to police in Killeen, Texas. Investigators tried to apprehend him after finding Guillen’s remains, which were buried along the Leon River, about 30 miles from Fort Hood.
Robinson killed Guillen with a hammer in an armory on post in April 2020. He then enlisted the help of Aguilar to dispose of the remains. The interview in which Aguilar describes Robinson’s motive for the murder took place after Guillen’s remains were found on June 30, 2020.
“I then pointed out the smell in the room, that [U.S. Marshall task force officer John Ray] and myself were saturated in, and explained it was that of human remains,” Texas Ranger Travis Dendy wrote in the report. “I asked Aguilar to start the story over and tell the truth this time”
Investigators had spoken to Aguilar multiple times at this point, and according to Dendy, this is when she finally confessed.
“Robinson killed the girl,” she allegedly told Dendy. After Robinson picked Aguilar up from work on April 22, 2020, he told her he had something to show her, according to Aguilar.
Under the cover of darkness, Robinson took Aguilar to the Leon River, where he showed her Guillen’s body in a massive black tote bag. Aguilar said Robinson then put a gun to her head and threatened her so she would help him dispose of Guillen’s body and the incriminating evidence.
“She claimed Robinson would go into moods in which he would not be his normal self and have a ‘tic.’ TFO Ray asked Aguilar if Robinson ever physically abused her to which she replied, ‘He has never raised a hand at me,’” the report read.
The release of the Texas DPS document comes as Aguilar is attempting to have her confession thrown out as inadmissible, citing the court’s infringement of her constitutional right to fair and speedy trial, KWTX reported.
Aguilar is currently charged on 11 different counts: one count of conspiracy to tamper with documents or proceedings; two counts of tampering with documents or proceedings; three counts of accessory after the fact; one count of destruction, alteration or falsification of records in a federal investigation; and four counts of false statement or representation.
“Cecily Aguilar will try everything in her power to walk freely as we are being denied the truth at this very moment,” Guillen’s sister Mayra told ABC13 News.
Mayra also said she was not convinced by Aguilar’s confession and the alleged motive Robinson had to attack and kill her Guillen.
“My sister was a very responsible person, that would not meddle into Robinson’s and Aguilar’s alleged ‘relationship,’” Mayra told ABC13 News. “We truly hope Vanessa receives justice, no family deserves to go through this. Vanessa should be here today, defending her loved ones and her country.”
The Guillen family’s lawyer, Natalie Khawam, told Army Times that she was “sickened” with Aguilar’s “frivolous filings,” but that she didn’t believe Aguilar would be successful in her attempts to get the evidence against her thrown out.
“She obviously doesn’t have any qualms with cutting up a human body into pieces and trying to burn Vanessa’s body,” Khawam said. “But we just have to continue to focus on getting this trial to move forward.”
Rachel is a Marine Corps veteran and a master's candidate at New York University's Business & Economic Reporting program.