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U.S. soldier accused in militia plot convicted in wife's death

By David Beasley

ATLANTA (Reuters) - A U.S. Army soldier accused of using his wife's $500,000 life insurance benefits to fund an anti-government militia group was convicted on Thursday of killing her and their unborn child, a military spokesman said.

A military judge found Private Isaac Aguigui, 22, guilty of asphyxiating his pregnant wife, Sergeant Deirdre Aguigui, in 2011 when she was stationed at Fort Stewart in southern Georgia, said base spokesman Kevin Larson.

Army prosecutors did not seek the death penalty, meaning Aguigui faces an automatic life sentence. He is already serving a life-without-parole sentence after pleading guilty in a civilian court in July to the separate murders of a fellow soldier and his girlfriend.

Three other soldiers stationed at Fort Stewart were charged in the December 2011 shooting deaths of soldier Michael Roark, 19, and his girlfriend, Tiffany York, 17.

Prosecutors said Aguigui and the three soldiers wanted to stop the couple from exposing their anarchist militia group called Forever Enduring Always Ready, or FEAR.

Aguigui funded the group's activities with the life insurance payout he collected in July 2011, civilian prosecutors said.

The militia group was not raised in Aguigui's military trial, Larson said, with prosecutors alleging that Aguigui wanted his wife's life insurance money to start a security business.

"What happened later on was beyond the scope of this trial," Larson said.

The accused militia members, who were indicted by a civilian grand jury in 2012, plotted to assassinate an American president as well as to attack Fort Stewart and a dam in Aguigui's home state of Washington, civilian prosecutors said.

The militia members also discussed poisoning the apple crop in Washington and had purchased $87,000 worth of weapons to carry out their planned attacks, according to prosecutors.

(Editing by Kevin Gray and G Crosse)

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