WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — On the one year anniversary of Fort Hood soldier Spc. Vanessa Guillen's death, her sisters and the family attorney spoke in Washington, D.C. to continue their push for a change in the way the military handles sexual harassment and assault.
Guillen was killed April 22, 2020 in an armory room on post by Spc. Aaron Robinson, according to a criminal complaint. Her remains were not found until June 30 in an area near the Leon River in Bell County.
"A year later, we don't have a trial for this," said attorney Natalie Khawam in a news conference Thursday. "We don't have have anything, nothing, a year later."
Guillen's family said she was being sexually harassed but did not report it for fear of retaliation.
The case gained national attention and led to the creation of the I Am Vanessa Guillen Act which would allow victims of sexual harassment and assault to report it outside the chain of command.
The bill stalled last year and was set to be re-introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier Thursday. It was delayed until the May when a commission appointed by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was expected to release its report on sexual assault in the military.
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Guillen's sister, Lupe, called on President Joe Biden to get behind the legislation.
"Months later we're trying to meet with you," Guillen said. "We're trying to get your support for this legislation, the I am Vanessa Guillen Act, because if you really care, because I know you had a son in the armed forces and you know how it feels to lose a son like my father lost his daughter, I ask you to please support us, to please support us in this fight for justice."
Guillen and Khawam spoke about the delay in getting a trial date set for Robinson's alleged accomplice Cecily Aguilar. They compared it to the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted Tuesday for the murder of George Floyd.
"They were both murdered. They were both human beings," Khawam said. "A year later George Floyd's case is settled and the trial has finished. He received justice. His family received justice. This family has no justice and it was a month after Vanessa was murdered and we're still waiting for justice."
Aguilar remains in jail in McLennan County charged with multiple counts of conspiracy to tamper with documents or proceedings. According to the criminal complaint, she helped Robinson dismember Guillen's body and bury the remains.