Death Penalty Sought for Assassination Plotters

For December murders of Michael Roark, girlfriend Tiffany York
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2012 7:22 AM CDT
Death Penalty Sought for Assassination Plotters
Wesley Thomas, the stepfather of victim Tiffany York, is tackled by courtroom security during the hearing of Sgt. Anthony Peden at Long County Superior Court, Thursday Aug. 30, 2012, in Ludowici, Ga.   (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)

Prosecutors are aiming for the death penalty in the case of three soldiers accused of murdering an ex-private and his girlfriend to keep the lid on their plot to overthrow Fort Stewart and kill President Obama, the New York Times reports. Isaac Aguigui, Christopher Salmon, and Anthony Peden will face malice murder, felony murder, and criminal gang charges, says a district attorney. The accused troops led Michael Roark and Tiffany York into the woods, saying they planned target practice, according to Michael Burnett, a fourth member of the group (self-dubbed FEAR) who took a plea deal in the case. Both were shot in the head.

Amid a troubled economy and opposition to President Obama, militias like FEAR are surging, says an analyst: Some 1,274 groups were part of the "patriot and militia" movement last year, compared to 824 in 2010, per a Southern Poverty Law Center report. "When you listen to the details of this plot, you’d think they’re all on hallucinogens. It would be easy not to take them seriously were it not for the fact that two people are dead," the expert notes. (More Isaac Aguigui stories.)

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