LUDOWICI, Ga. (AP) — Four Army soldiers based in southeast Georgia killed a former comrade and his girlfriend to protect an anarchist militia group they formed that stockpiled assault weapons and plotted a range of anti-government attacks, prosecutors told a judge Monday.
Prosecutors in rural Long County, near the sprawling Army post Fort Stewart, said the militia group composed of active duty and former U.S. military members spent at least $87,000 buying guns and bomb components and was serious enough to kill two people — former soldier Michael Roark and his 17-year-old girlfriend, Tiffany York — by shooting them in the woods last December in order to keep its plans secret.
‘‘This domestic terrorist organization did not simply plan and talk,’’ prosecutor Isabel Pauley told a Superior Court judge. ‘‘Prior to the murders in this case, the group took action. Evidence shows the group possessed the knowledge, means and motive to carry out their plans.’’
One of the Fort Stewart soldiers charged in the case, Army Pfc. Michael Burnett, also gave testimony that backed up many of the assertions made by prosecutors. The 26-year-old soldier pleaded guilty Monday to manslaughter, illegal gang activity and other charges. He made a deal to cooperate with prosecutors in their case against the three other soldiers.
Prosecutors said the group called itself F.E.A.R., short for Forever Enduring Always Ready. Pauley said authorities don’t know how many members the militia had.
Burnett, 26, said he knew the group’s leaders from serving with them at Fort Stewart. He agreed to testify against fellow soldiers Pvt. Isaac Aguigui, identified by prosecutors as the militia’s founder and leader, Sgt. Anthony Peden and Pvt. Christopher Salmon.
Pauley said Aguigui funded the militia using $500,000 in insurance and benefit payments from the death of his pregnant wife a year ago. Aguigui was not charged in his wife’s death, but Pauley told the judge her death was ‘‘highly suspicious.’’
She said Aguigui used the money to buy $87,000 worth of semiautomatic assault rifles, other guns and bomb components that were recovered from the accused soldiers’ homes and from a storage locker. He also used the insurance payments to buy land for his militia group in Washington state, Pauley said.
In a videotaped interview with military investigators, Pauley said, Aguigui called himself ‘‘the nicest cold-blooded murderer you will ever meet.’’ He used the Army to recruit militia members, who wore distinctive tattoos that resemble an anarchy symbol, she said. Prosecutors say they have no idea how many members belong to the group.
‘‘All members of the group were on active-duty or were former members of the military,’’ Pauley said. ‘‘He targeted soldiers who were in trouble or disillusioned.’’
The prosecutor said the militia group had big plans. It plotted to take over Fort Stewart by seizing its ammunition control point and talked of bombing the Forsyth Park fountain in nearby Savannah, she said. In Washington state, she added, the group plotted to bomb a dam and poison the state’s apple crop. Ultimately, prosecutors said, the militia’s goal was to overthrow the government and assassinate the president.
J.D. Van Brink, a Tea Party supporter who tries to make an argument against light rail in Cobb County, Georgia. [Mother Jones] (via producermatthew)
Wait, so his argument against light rail is the potential threat of terrorism? So why do we keep building skyscrapers? Or cities? Or have wars? Or walk outside? (via shortformblog)
Stay inside. Don’t do anything. Don’t go anywhere. The market will take care of it.