FEAR murder suspect gets life sentences - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

FEAR murder suspect gets life sentences

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LONG CO., GA (WTOC) -

Anthony Peden sobbed as relatives of Tiffany York talked about the heartache her murder has brought them. 

"I know one day I will have to forgive you, but I know I can't do it today," Tiffany's mother, Brenda Thomas, said from the witness stand.

Under oath, Peden admitted to shooting York when he and fellow soldiers killed her and her boyfriend, Michael Roark, to hide a militia group they called FEAR.

Peden described to the judge his foggy memories of the ambush and murder.

"Whenever Roark got out, [co-defendant Private Christopher] Salmon grabbed him and there was some wrestling around and screaming. Not knowing what to expect, I drew the pistol, the passenger door opened and I saw a glint of what I thought was a gun, and I fired twice into Tiffany York," Peden said.

Peden's attorney described the soldier's psychological state from deployments, which included brain injuries from explosives and the trauma of seeing fellow soldiers die.

He claimed Peden got no help from the Army and became hooked on pain pills and later heroin. Prosecutors believe Peden was manipulated by militia leader Pvt. Isaac Aguigui into pulling the trigger.

That's one of the reasons they asked the family's permission to offer him life sentences with the possibility for parole.

"They said they thought this one should be treated differently because of the migitating evidence provided to us and that we provided to the families," District Attorney Tom Durden noted after the hearing.

That deal hinges on Peden telling investigators everything he knows about the militia group and it's plans.

After the hearing, Thomas said she saw remorse in Peden that she had not seen in the other three defendants in the murders.

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