Burglary defendant to testify in FEAR murder case - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Burglary defendant to testify in militia murder case

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Timothy Joiner Timothy Joiner

A former Fort Stewart soldier accused in dozens of burglaries agreed to a reduced sentence in exchange for testimony against other former soldiers accused of murder.

Timothy Joiner pled guilty to charges of burglary and of gang or domestic terrorism activities. Judge Robert Russell sentenced him to 15 years, five in prison and 10 on parole and probation.

Assistant District Attorney Isabel Pauley asserted Joiner's thefts were in support of the group that called itself FEAR. In previous court hearings, prosecutors contended FEAR members plotted to seize weapons at Fort Stewart and help other groups in an overthrow of the federal government. They also believe the members killed former soldier Michael Roark and his girlfriend, Tiffany York, to keep their plot hidden.

Pauley said Joiner stole weapons for the group's use and other property to "flip" or sell for quick cash.

Pauley said Joiner's crime spree over a two day period in December 2011 was to generate bail money for one of the militia members jailed in North Georgia. Other FEAR members, Christopher Salmon, his wife Heather Salmon, Michael Burnett, Anthony Pedin and accused leader Isaac Aguigui, were already in custody in the Coastal Empire in connection with the murder.

Relatives of the murder victims sat in court Tuesday and remain shocked at the involvement of military personnel in such a plot. So far, state prosecutors have indicted 12 defendants who were current or former soldiers at the time of their arrest in the case.

"I can't believe what I've heard today. With all these charges Joiner has against him. I don't understand how he commit all these crimes for the organization," stated Brenda Thomas, Tiffany York's mother.

"Is 12 all that's involved? There's more and more found every time they turn over a new rock. Then you find out its not just the group, but the professions of the group - a military police officer and a military intelligence officer are part of this group," added Brett Roark, Michael Roark's father.

Pauley said after the hearing she couldn't guarantee there weren't more FEAR members that had not been indicted or uncovered. But state, federal, and military investigators were working together and sharing any information uncovered in the case.

A Fort Stewart spokesman at the hearing also expressed the Army's active participation in the investigation and their intent to see all responsible parties brought to justice.

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Militia Plot Slayings

See previous stories, watch testimony from a Long County double murder case and a militia group.

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