A Texas court has sentenced a 25-year-old woman to 30 years in prison for her part in the murder of US soldier Vanessa Guillen. Cecily Aguilar is said to have helped her boyfriend at the time and the alleged murderer of the 20-year-old soldier dismember and bury her body. He had killed the young woman with a hammer in the armory of the military base Fort Cavazos (then Fort Hood).
On June 30, 2020, construction workers discovered the remains of the young woman on a river in the Texas city of Belton. That same evening, the suspected killer, Aaron David Robinson, fled the military facility. When the police found him in the early morning hours of July 1 and tried to arrest him, he took out a gun and shot himself. Investigators soon arrested his girlfriend Aguilar, who pleaded guilty to helping dispose of the body.
The murder of Vanessa Guillen had caused a nationwide sensation - Netflix had also released a documentary about her case. According to her family, Guillen had reported sexual harassment by a manager. It was later revealed that prior to her death, she had reported two incidents of sexual harassment by a supervisor to the unit's leadership, but no action was taken.
The reports of the case also encouraged countless female soldiers using the hashtag
Guillen's family sued the US Department of Defense after the murder and lobbied for legislation to enforce stricter sexual harassment protocols and improved "missing serviceman" protocols. They also met with then-President Donald Trump at the White House to discuss their concerns. Eventually, a series of reforms were introduced that stripped commanders of some powers and gave those affected more opportunities to report abuse and harassment. The Army has disciplined 21 officers and NCOs in connection with Guillén's death.
It was not finally possible to clarify why Vanessa Guillen had to die. The family suspects that she was sexually abused by Robinson shortly before her death. He had been accused of sexual harassment in the past, but not in connection with Guillen.
Watch the video: With a few hand signals, a make-up artist wants to draw attention to a sad topic in 2020: Sarah Biggers-Stewart shows how often women have to experience sexual harassment and everyday sexism.
Sources: ABC, Texas Attorney's Office, Associated Press, Netflix