LUDOWICI, Ga. (AP/WAOK) — A prosecutor says he will seek the death penalty against the three Georgia-based Army soldiers accused of killing two people to protect an anti-government militia.
District Attorney Tom Durden announced in Long County Superior Court on Thursday that he will seek the death penalty for 19 year old Army Pvt. Isaac Aguigui.
Aguigui, Sgt. Anthony Peden and Pvt. Christopher Salmon of Fort Stewart are scheduled to be arraigned Thursday on charges of malice murder, felony murder and criminal gang activity in the Dec. 4 slayings of former soldier Michael Roark and his girlfriend, 17-year-old Tiffany York.
Prosecutors in rural Long County say the soldiers were part of a militia operating within the U.S. Army that was stockpiling weapons and wanted to overthrow the federal government.
According to the Associated Press, the soliders allegedly bought $87,000 worth of “guns and bomb-making materials and plotted to take over Fort Stewart, bomb targets in nearby Savannah and Washington state, as well as assassinate the president.”
The AP’s Russ Bynum reported Pfc. Michael Burnett, one of the accused soldiers, pled guilty to manslaughter and gang charges in the murder case. “Burnett told a Long County judge that Roark, who had just left the Army, knew of the militia group’s plans and was killed because he was ‘a loose end,’” reports Bynum.
According to Reuters News Agency, Aguigui is now also suspected in the death of his wife. Investigators say he may have used $500,000 in insurance benefits from his wife’s death in July 2011 to finance the anarchist militia FEAR, or Forever Enduring Always Ready.
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama visited with troops and their families at Ft. Stewart in April.
U.S. Army Pvt. Isaac Aguigui, 19, is led away in handcuffs after appearing before a magistrate judge at the Long County Sheriff’s Office in Ludowici, Ga., on Dec. 12, 2011.