5 more charged in Georgia in alleged military-militia scheme
Four former Army soldiers and a civilian have been charged in new indictments for connections to a militia allegedly led by a Chelan County man and other troops at Fort Stewart, Ga., who authorities say stockpiled weapons and talked of overthrowing the U.S. government.
The Associated Press
SAVANNAH, Ga. — Four former Army soldiers and a civilian have been charged in new indictments for connections to a militia allegedly led by a Chelan County man and other Fort Stewart, Ga., troops who authorities say stockpiled weapons and talked of overthrowing the U.S. government.
A Liberty County grand jury indicted the five on charges of illegal gang activity and various counts involving theft, burglary and auto break-ins. Those crimes were committed to help fund the militia group, called F.E.A.R., short for Forever Enduring Always Ready, District Attorney Tom Durden said Tuesday.
"The burglaries and entering autos, they were committed in an effort to fund F.E.A.R. and what F.E.A.R. was at least advocating they wanted to accomplish," said Durden, the top prosecutor for Southeast Georgia's Atlantic Judicial Circuit. Their plans included bombing a Savannah park fountain and poisoning apple crops in Washington, prosecutors say.
The new indictments bring to 10 the total number of people charged in connection with the militia group.
Four are soldiers serving at neighboring Fort Stewart and are charged with murder in the December slayings of former soldier Michael Roark and his teenage girlfriend, Tiffany York. Authorities say that after Roark left the Army, he was killed, along with York, to protect the group and its plots.
The wife of one of the soldiers also has been charged in the slayings.
Prosecutors have said the militia was led by Pvt. Isaac Aguigui, 19, of Cashmere, Chelan County, who is among those charged in the two deaths.
Fort Stewart officials confirmed four of the men charged in the latest indictments are former soldiers — Christopher Jenderseck, 26, of St. Cloud, Minn.; Adam Dearman, 27, of Auburn, Ga.; Timothy Joiner, 21, of Hampton, Ga.; and Anthony Garner, 23, of Newnan, Ga. Three of them were discharged from the Army between November and May, while Jenderseck's enlistment ended in April.
The fifth man charged was Dearman's brother, Randall Blake Dearman. Their father, Randy Dearman, declined to comment when reached by phone Tuesday.
Durden said civilian authorities aren't sure how many members the militia group had. Army officials said they weren't surprised by the new indictments involving ex-soldiers, but they aren't saying how large the group was either.
Only one of the new indictments was related to the double slaying. Jenderseck was charged with evidence tampering. Durden said he had helped the accused soldiers burn clothing they had worn during the killings of Roark and York, who were found shot to death in woods near Fort Stewart.
Prosecutors have charged Aguigui, Sgt. Anthony Peden and Pvt. Christopher Salmon with murder and are seeking the death penalty. Salmon's wife, Heather Salmon, also has been charged.
A fourth soldier, Pfc. Michael Burnett, pleaded guilty last month to reduced charges after agreeing to help prosecute the other accused troops.