LONG COUNTY, GA (CBS/WTOC) - Soldiers plotting to overthrow our government? Details are revealed Friday in a Long County courtroom.
The relatives of Michael Rourke and Tiffany York cried as Michael Burnett outlined what led to the couple's murder in December. Burnett said he and Rourke were part of a militia group of soldiers who wanted to overthrow the government. Burnette said Private Isaac Aguigui started it all.
PFC Michael Burnett says, "It started out with just going out and shooting guns. Then he introduced me to The Manuscript, what he called it, a book about true patriots. I believed in some of the stuff. It progressed from there."
It progressed, he said, with the four soldiers planning to capture Fort Stewart weapons and join other groups nationwide. Judge Robert Russell asks, "What were the goals of this group?" Burnett responds, "Give the government back to the people." Russell asks, "You talked about revolution?" Burnett says, "Yes, patriotism."
Burnette said Rourke had helped buy guns for the group's plans. But the nucleus of the group called The Family, decided Rourke and his girlfriend knew too much as Rourke prepared to leave the Army. Burnett says, "A loose end, is one way that Isaac put it. Michael was witness to another murder, previous to this."
Burnett said he tried to convince the others not to kill the couple and didn't participate in the murders. Burnett says, "Sir, if I could have stopped this, I would have."
Burnett agreed to testify against Aguigui and the others to avoid a death penalty trial. How long he serves will likely depend on what he says in his next trip to court.
Prosecutors said investigators seized nearly $100,000 worth of weapons group members had purchased as well as homemade bombs. In addition, they've arrested other members of the group that weren't part of the murder. Fort Stewart officials say they believe they've found all the members and don't believe they have a gang or militia problem on post.