Emotions erupt in terror plot courtroom

11:34 PM, Aug 30, 2012   |    comments
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Man is restrained after lunging at murder suspect
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  • LONG COUNTY, Ga. -- Emotions erupted in a Long County courtroom Thursday as prosecutors announced they would seek the death penalty against three Fort Stewart soldiers accused of murder.

    The step-father of one of the two murder victims lunged at one of the defendants and had to be restrained by courtroom deputies.

    The father of the second murder victim was escorted out of the courtroom after he yelled at the deputies.

    Wesley Thomas yelled "You (expletive) killed my kid" before lunging at Sgt. Anthony Peden, who is accused of killing his step-daughter Tiffany York.

    Brett Roark yelled "The man's daughter is dead" before he was escorted out. He is the father of Michael Roark, York's boyfriend, who was also shot and killed.

    Wesley Thomas was led out of court before a hearing for three Fort Stewart soldiers accused in the double murder. Prosecutors allege that Tiffany York, 17, and her boyfriend, Michael Roark, were killed because they were a threat to uncover an anarchist militia the soldiers belonged to.

    RELATED | Ga murders uncover militia within US Army

    York's brother said he understands why emotions got out of control. "To be honest with you I wish Wes would have got a hold of him," Nicholas York said. "I wish I could get a hold of him, but like I said, that's not going to bring Tiffany back."

    Prosecutors said Private Isaac Aguigui was the leader of the anarchist militia that recruited active duty soldiers at the Fort and planned to overthrow the government.

    They announced at the hearing they would seek the death penalty against Aguigui, Sgt. Anthony Peden and Private Christopher Salmon.

    A fourth soldier, and member of the group, Private Michael Burnett, pled to manslaughter on Monday in return for his testimony. Burnett said in the hearing Monday he watched Sgt. Peden shoot Tiffany York twice in the head. And then watched Private Salmon order her boyfriend to his knees, and shoot him twice in the head. Burnett said the killings were ordered by Aguigui.

    Nicholas York said it's hard to be in the same courtroom as the suspects. "I don't like seeing them in there," he said. "I can't really take my eyes off them because I have so much anger built up for them."

    You can follow Kevin on Twitter @kgrowson

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