Suspect in Vanessa Guillen's case pleads not guilty

WACO, Texas (KTRK) -- On Tuesday afternoon, Vanessa Guillen's family attorney Natalie Khawam, told an ABC News reporter that she's set to meet with President Donald Trump on July 29 in Washington.

The meeting is schedule the day before Guillen's family plans to peacefully protest near the White House on July 30.

The announcement came moments before a judge in Texas denied the release of 22-year-old Cecily Aguilar in federal court this afternoon.

Aguilar is charged with helping to hide and destroy the body of murdered Fort Hood Army Specialist Guillen.

Appearing by Zoom from the Jack Harwell Detention Center in Waco, Aguilar wore a grey and black striped prison uniform and an orange face mask that matched her dyed orange hair, styled in pigtails.

Her attorney, federal public defender Lewis Gainor appeared from a courtroom along with US Attorney Mark Frazier.

Aguilar pleaded not guilty to all three federal counts - two counts of tampering with documents or proceedings and one count of conspiracy to tamper with documents or proceedings.

Frazier argued that Aguilar should remain in detention, saying that she expressed a desire to flee the country on jailhouse phone calls and claimed she had someone's credit card with $5,000.

Aguilar contested that claim, saying "That's not what I said" in a low but audible voice.

Frazier also claimed that Aguilar took steps to impede the investigation, deleting her and Robinson's Google accounts, and asking a friend to delete her Facebook account.

Gainor pointed out that Aguilar's estranged husband Keon was in court to support her, and that he would take her in if she's granted release. When Gainor argued that Aguilar is not a flight risk and she wants to fight the charges, Aguilar could be seen nodding.

The judge took barely a moment to side with the prosecutor, agreeing that she was a flight risk and ordering her to remain detained until trial.

Aguilar is accused of helping US Army Specialist Aaron Robinson dismember and dispose of Guillen's remains after Robinson told Aguilar he killed Guillen with a hammer.

Robinson died by suicide when he was confronted by police on July 1.

Guillen's family appeared in the courtroom, which was largely empty due to COVID protocols , sitting and listening quietly.

One unidentified man in the courtroom wore a shirt with Guillen's name printed on it.

Aguilar's next court appearance was not scheduled during the hearing.

Earlier this week, Trump spoke out about the horrific killing of Guillen at Fort Hood.

Trump made the remarks during a Noticias Telemundo interview Friday. He said he heard about her case on the news.

"I saw that on the news the other day. I thought it was terrible. I gave specific orders that I want to know everything about it," said President Trump. "They're going to be reporting to me on Monday about it. I'll be able to release something to you at that time. I thought it was horrible. I thought it was absolutely horrible."

His remarks come as thousands of service members and veterans signed a letter demanding reforms over the military's handling of sexual harassment claims including the immediate relief and replacement of Guillen's chain of command, and zero enlistments of young Americans until demands are met.

Stephanie Gattas is with the non-profit organization The Pink Berets. She said change is coming, Guillen's case is the catalyst.

"The manner in which Vanessa Guillen was murdered was traumatic. I think that's what really sent some women over the edge. This is enough. Not one more," said Gattas. "This is going to be a pivotal time in history because there will be change. I know we will not stop at anything until those demands are met and until change is made."
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