US soldier charged with killing wife

An American soldier accused of plotting attacks as the leader of an anti-US government militia group was charged with murder in 2011 death of his pregnant wife.

Updated: Apr 04, 2013, 08:38 AM IST

Savannah (Georgia): An American soldier accused of plotting attacks as the leader of an anti-US government militia group was charged by the Army with murder in the 2011 death of his pregnant wife.

Pvt Isaac Aguigui will face a military hearing to determine if he should be tried by court-martial for the deaths of his wife, Army Sgt Deirdre Aguigui, and the child they lost in July 2011, Fort Stewart officials in southeast Georgia said on Wednesday.

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

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 teenage girlfriend.

Civilian prosecutors have called Aguigui, the leader of a militia group of malcontented Army soldiers, who plotted attacks ranging from bombing a park fountain in Savannah to poisoning apple crops in Washington state.

They say Aguigui used a USD 500,000 life insurance payout from his wife`s death to buy guns and bomb components and ordered his followers to kill Roark and his girlfriend, Tiffany York, fearing they would expose the group.

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

"The original command structure didn`t do their job," Roark said. "This should have stopped at her murder." Deirdre Aguigui, an Army linguist, became pregnant after returning home to Fort Stewart from a deployment to Iraq.

A few months later, on July 17, 2011, she was found dead at the couple`s home on the Army post.

Fort Stewart officials and the woman`s family have declined to discuss her death because of the ongoing investigation.

The Army has refused to release records pertaining to her death when a news agency requested them last year.

Regina Ross-Schmid, an Army spouse at Fort Stewart and friend of Deidre Aguigui, told the agency last year that soldiers who served with her friend were never given an explanation.