WACO, Texas — Cecily Aguilar, 24, now faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison after she pleaded guilty in connection to the disappearance and murder of Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen on Tuesday.
Aguilar appeared in federal court in Downtown Waco to enter her plea. Also in attendance was Guillen's family who say they were "very taken aback" by Aguilar's decision.
"With so many motions that she's filed in the past, for her to plead guilty now did take us by completely by surprise," Mayra Guillen, Vanessa Guillen's older sister, said. "We actually thought she was going to keep fighting back."
Aguilar pleaded guilty to one count of accessory to murder after the fact and three counts of false statement or representation.
In addition to the possible prison sentence, Aguilar also faces three years of supervised release and a $1 million fine, according to the Department of Justice.
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Mayra Guillen said she has mixed emotions from the whole experience.
"There's still a lot of mixed emotions. Both anger and frustration... Now we are going to have to wait for the actual sentencing," she said.
A sentencing hearing was not set in court Tuesday, however, it's expected in the next 90 to 100 days.
"I'm glad that we are going to have an opportunity to speak in front of the judge and her and of course, hear what she has to say," Mayra Guillen said. "... I comfort myself knowing she will be locked up for most of the rest of her life and I hope she has time to sit down and think about what she did and how she impacted our lives."
"God willing... this lady stays in prison for life," Guillen's mother, Gloria Guillen, said in Spanish during the news conference. "May God allow it to be so because it is her punishment. It's her punishment for committing such a heinous crime with my daughter."
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Aguilar was the only one charged in Guillen's 2020 murder. She was indicted on 11 counts by a grand jury last July. According to Mayra Guillen, she pleaded guilty to four counts.
In a statement by family attorney Natalie Khawam, she said Aguilar's guilty plea was "another step on the long path toward justice for Vanessa, my client and her courageous family."
"I will never stop fighting for my clients and will continue to seek and demand justice for victims and their families until it’s achieved," Khawam said.
According to court documents, Aguilar helped her boyfriend, Spc. Aaron Robinson, dismember and bury Guillen's remains near the Leon River in Bell County after Robinson murdered Guillen on Fort Hood on April 22, 2020.
Her remains were later found on June 30, 2020. The next day, Robinson shot and killed himself, which left many wondering the motive behind Guillen's killing.
Watch the full news conference below.
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