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Soldier accused of leading anti-U.S. militia charged in wife's slaying

| Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 6:36 p.m.

SAVANNAH, Ga. — A Georgia soldier accused of plotting attacks as leader of an anti-government militia group was charged with murder by the Army on Wednesday in the 2011 death of his pregnant wife.

Pvt. Isaac Aguigui of Cashmere, Wash., will face a military hearing to determine if a court-martial should try him in the death of his wife, Army Sgt. Deirdre Aguigui, said Fort Stewart officials in southeast Georgia. The Army also charged Aguigui with causing the death of an unborn child, a boy, when his wife died in July 2011. Military authorities spent nearly two years investigating, but have not released any details about the killing.

“Every victim deserves to have their case prosecuted. In this case it took some time,” said Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson.

Less than five months after his wife's death, Aguigui and three fellow Fort Stewart soldiers were charged by civilian authorities in the December 2011 shooting deaths of Michael Roark, a former member of their Army unit, and Roark's 17-year-old girlfriend, Tiffany York. Civilian prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Aguigui, saying he ordered the deaths to keep the couple from exposing the militia group.

Civilian prosecutors said in court last August that Aguigui, 21, recruited and led a group of disgruntled Army soldiers who plotted attacks ranging from bombing a park fountain in Savannah to poisoning apple crops in Washington state. They said the group also wanted to assassinate an American president, though prosecutors never specified if the target was President Obama.

None of the attacks were ever carried out.

Prosecutors said in court that Aguigui used a $500,000 life insurance payout from his wife's death to buy guns and bomb-making materials.

Roark's father, Brett Roark, said the slayings of his son and York could have been prevented had the Army charged Aguigui sooner in his wife's death.

“The original command structure didn't do their job,” Roark said. “This should have stopped at her murder.”

Aguigui's attorney, Newell Hamilton, declined to comment on any of the charges against the soldier.

An Army linguist, Deirdre Aguigui became pregnant after returning home to Fort Stewart from a deployment to Iraq. A few months later, on July 17, 2011, the 24-year-old woman was found dead at the couple's home on the Army post.

It's not clear how Deirdre Aguigui died. Fort Stewart officials and the woman's family have declined to discuss her death because of an ongoing investigation.

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