Families react to FEAR suspects pleas - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Families react to FEAR suspects pleas


The loved ones of Michael Roark and Tiffany York won't draw closure from guilty pleas by the two men accused of their murders back in 2011.

"There's no such thing as closure. That's a myth," said Brett Roark. 

Christopher Salmon and Anthony Peden pled guilty to the murders, as well as state codes against gang and organized crime activity.

The two former soldiers were part of a self-described militia group called FEAR. In previous hearings, other accused members said the group intended to seize weapons stations at Fort Stewart and team with other militia groups around the country to overthrow the federal government.

Salmon told Judge Robert Russell that the group used Roark to run errands and group founder Isaac Aguigui gave Roark his credit card.

Salmon said Aguigui suspected Roark of using the card for other purchases. Additionally, they suspected Roark planned to escape from the group and tell police of their plans.

Salmon said the group lured Roark to an isolated area in Long County and killed him and killed York, his girlfriend, as a precaution in case she knew of the plans.

Specically, prosecutors contend Salmon shot and killed Roark and Peden shot York.

In court, Salmon attempted to offer an apology to the families. But Brett Roark cut him short.

"Oh just shut up!" he said.

"I don't believe you were sorry on Dec. 5 [2011] and I don't believe you are sorry now," Tracey Jarhr, Michael's mother, said from the witness stand.

Salmon agreed to a sentence of life without a chance for parole. Peden's hearing stopped short of such a decision.

His attorneys asked Judge Robert Russell to consider Peden's previous claims of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and sentence him to life with a possibility of parole.

"He wants hope?" asked Tiffany's mother, Brenda Thomas. "I don't have hope. I don't have hope for Michael or Tiffany to walk through the door."

Aguigui pled guilty in 2013 to masterminding the murders. Just last week, a military judge found Aguigui guilty to murdering his wife in 2011 months before the murders of Roark and York. 

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