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Texas woman sentenced to 30 years as accessory to murder

On Behalf of | Aug 24, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Most people know that Texas law treats violent crimes as more serious than other crimes, and murder is considered the most serious of violent crimes. Those convicted of murder charges can face the harshest penalties allowed under the law, including the death penalty.

In murder cases, harsh penalties can also apply to other people who did not actually kill the victim. In some cases, another person may face severe penalties for helping the alleged killer — even if they helped them after the killing.

Recently, a Texas woman was found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in prison for her role in helping a man kill U.S. soldier Vanessa Guillen. Prosecutors said the woman’s boyfriend killed Guillen and then she helped him to dispose of the body. She was convicted of being an accessory after the fact, and for lying to investigators about the murder.

Police say the woman’s boyfriend killed himself the same day Guillen’s body was discovered. The woman sentenced as an accessory is the only person to have been prosecuted in connection with the murder.

Guillen’s murder received a great deal of media attention and helped spark a movement of women talking about harassment and abuse they were subjected to in the armed forces.

Aiding and abetting

“Accessory” refers to a charge that is related to “aiding and abetting.” Generally, a person who aids and abets a crime helps out before the crime is committed, but an “accessory after the fact” is a person who knows that the other person committed a crime and then takes steps to help the person escape arrest or conviction. It is not strictly necessary that prosecutors prove that the other person is guilty of the crime.

Most of those who are convicted as accessories do not receive prison sentences as long as the one in this case, but the penalties can be quite harsh. It’s important to remember that all those who are accused of acting as an accessory have the right to a criminal defense.


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