Army Sgt. Anthony Peden, right, wipes away tears during a hearing Thursday in a Long County, Ga. courtroom. Peden and Army Pvt. Christopher Salmon pleaded guilty to fatally shooting a former military colleague and his teenage girlfriend to protect what Salmon described as an anti-government militia group formed by disgruntled troops at neighboring Fort Stewart. (Lewis Levine / AP)
LUDOWICI, GA. — An Army soldier pleading guilty to killing a teenage girl says he shot her twice in the head only after he thought he saw "the glint of a gun" as her car door opened.
Sgt. Anthony Peden was sentenced to life in prison Thursday by a southeast Georgia judge for the December 2011 slayings of 17-year-old Tiffany York and her boyfriend, former soldier Michael Roark. Prosecutors say the couple was slain by a group of soldiers in woods near Fort Stewart to protect an anti-government militia group to which the killers belonged.
Peden will eligible for parole after 30 years, a lighter sentence than two other defendants who struck plea deals in the case. That's because evidence showed Peden struggled with brain injuries and post-traumatic stress from combat deployments.