Four U.S. soldiers from southeast Georgia are on trial for the murder of a fellow soldier and his girlfriend in an attempt to hide an "anarchist" group they funded and armed.
Pfc. Michael Burnett, a member of the group that plotted numerous local and national acts of terrorism, testified against three fellow militia members on Monday.
"I don't know how it got to the point where two people got murdered," Burnett told the court, adding the militia was started by fellow Fort Stewart Army member Pvt. Isaac Aguigui.
Aguigui began the group by assembling fellow active and retired members of the Army for "guy's stuff," Burnett said. Before long, he had introduced his friends to a manuscript outlining the ethos of a new "anarchist" group he was starting.
F.E.A.R., or Forever Enduring Always Ready, aimed "to give the government back to the people," Burnett said, by inciting revolution through terrorist acts.
A few of the acts planned included the bombing of a local dam and fountain and the poisoning of Georgia's apple crop. The ultimate goal was the overthrow of the U.S. government and the assassination of the president.
"I thought we were the people who would be able to change it," Burnett said, adding the government needed a change.
Using insurance money collected after the "highly suspicious" death of Aguigui's pregnant wife a year before, F.E.A.R had spent almost $90,000 on guns, ammunition and bomb components before members of the group were tied to a fellow soldier's death, thus uncovering the group.
Burnett testified that on December 4th, he and Aguigui, along with fellow Army members Sgt. Anthony Peden and Pvt. Christopher Salmon, lured fellow serviceman Michael Roark and his 17-year-old girlfriend Tiffany York into the woods near Ft. Stewart and shot them on rumors Roark planned to defect from F.E.A.R.
"Sir, if I could have stopped this from happening, I would have," Burnett told prosecutors.
Although the Army itself had opened up a case looking into the killing, they dismissed the charges against the four men. It is unclear if the case is still pending.
Ft. Stewart "does not have a gang or militia problem," base spokesman Kevin Larson said in a statement released this week. He added the Army did not believe there were any other unidentified members of the group left in their ranks.
All four men served together at Ft. Stewart in the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division.
They are charged with malice murder, felony murder, criminal gang activity, aggravated assault and using a firearm while committing a felony.
Burnett's testimony against his fellow militia member will reduce his murder sentence to manslaughter, thus avoiding the death penalty.
by RTT Staff Writer
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