By CHRISTINA CARREGA and MIKE REPPLIER, ABC News
(BELL COUNTY, Texas) — A married Texas woman who allegedly assisted her lover with dismembering the body of missing Fort Hood soldier Pfc. Vanessa Guillen will remain in federal custody.
Cecily Ann Aguilar is described by military officials as the estranged wife of a former Fort Hood soldier and the girlfriend of Specialist Aaron David Robinson — the suspected killer of Vanessa Guillen who later died by suicide.
Aguilar, 22, faces up to 20 years in federal prison for one charge of conspiracy to tamper with documents or proceedings and two charges of tampering with documents or proceedings.
Defense attorney Lewis Berray Gainor entered not guilty pleas on Aguilar’s behalf during her bail hearing Tuesday afternoon.
“She clearly and unequivocally denies the allegations. She had nothing to do with the murder of Vanessa Guillen,” said Gainor.
However, advocates for Guillen say the charges should be upgraded.
“Our Soldier was not given any options, we need to be Vanessa’s voice for justice … The appropriate charges should be murder, she needs to be charged with the maximum sentence as allowed by the law,” said the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Herencia Council No. 4297 in a statement.
LULAC held a peaceful protest outside the federal courthouse in Waco, Texas, on Tuesday morning denouncing Aguilar’s bond hearing.
“We need to demand the maximum sentence with denial of bond, no less,” said LULAC, adding, “The female perpetrator’s admission to be an accomplice of this horrendous crime committed, she needs to be subject to the same degree of punishment as the male principal perpetrator.”
Guillen, 20, was last seen at work on the grounds of the base on April 22 and was reported missing by her captain.
Guillen’s family and their attorney, Natalie Khawam, said the missing soldier was the victim of sexual harassment by her superior but that she did not report the allegations out of fear of retaliation.
Army officials have launched an internal review of the command climate and culture at Fort Hood. After months of saying Guillen’s allegations were unfounded, officials said on July 10 that they found evidence that Guillen was harassed, but that it was not sexual harassment and it did not involve her alleged killer, Robinson.
Investigators with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) honed in on Robinson as a suspect after Guillen’s phone records showed that he was the last person she was in contact with, according to court documents.
Robinson, 20, told police that he was with Aguilar the day Guillen went missing, court documents say.
After investigators conducted two interviews with Aguilar, she allegedly admitted to assisting Robinson with using a “hatchet or machete type knife” to dismember Guillen’s body and bury pieces of it in three separate holes alongside the Leon River, according to court documents.
Aguilar told investigators that after they left the river she deleted the Google accounts connected to herself and Robinson, U.S. Attorney Mark Frazier said at Aguilar’s bail hearing Tuesday.
When police took Aguilar into custody, she allegedly made phone calls from Bell County Jail in which she asked the person she called to delete her Facebook account “because the CID was monitoring it” and also told the person that she had $5,000 to get out of the country, Frazier said.
“That’s not what I said,” responded Aguilar, who appeared at the hearing remotely from a holding cell, wearing a large orange face mask that matched her dyed orange hair.
Gainor argued that Aguilar is not a risk to flee the country and that she has the support of her husband, who “has not left her side.”
“She wants to fight these charges to clear her name,” Gainor added as Aguilar nodded in agreement.
However Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Mansake denied bond for Aguilar because of her phone conversations where she expressed a desire to leave the country.
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