In federal court in Waco on Tuesday, a federal grand jury indicted a Killeen woman who is accused of helping a man cover up the homicide of Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen earlier this year.
Through her lawyer, Cecily Anne Aguilar, 22, entered a plea of not guilty during the hearing on Tuesday, court officials said. She has been listed without bond in the McLennan County Jail since being transferred from the Bell County Jail.
Tuesday’s preliminary and detention hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Manske at the U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas was the second routine hearing in Aguilar’s case.
“The federal grand jury indictment charges Aguilar with one count of conspiracy to tamper with evidence and two substantive counts of tampering with evidence. Aguilar faces up to 20 years in federal prison for each count upon conviction,” according to a news release from the United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Texas.
According to media reports, a protest was held outside the courthouse in Waco in the hours before the hearing.
Aguilar’s case is being tried in federal court because the initial crime, the homicide of Guillen, is alleged to have occurred on Fort Hood property, “a special territorial jurisdiction for the federal government,” according to a criminal complaint signed by Manske on July 2.
Earlier this month, Army officials confirmed that the human remains found on June 30 near the Leon River, about 20 miles east of Fort Hood, were those of Guillen.
Guillen, 20, was reported missing on April 22.
Aguilar told investigators that Army Spc. Aaron Robinson, 20, killed Guillen by striking her repeatedly on the head with a hammer on April 22.
Robinson fatally shot himself early July 1 in front of Killeen police officers when he was confronted in the 4700 block of East Rancier Avenue, police said.
Aguilar allegedly helped Robinson dispose of Guillen’s body, which he had moved off post to a remote location.
“The complaint alleges that at a later time Aguilar recognized the deceased, whom she helped Robinson mutilate and dispose of, as Guillen,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The Herald reached out to Aguilar’s defense attorney for comment but did not hear back by press time.
No further court dates have been scheduled.