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Official's Death Ruled a Random Act of Violence

March 29, 1994| Associated Press

WASHINGTON — U.S. official Fred Woodruff died last year in the republic of Georgia in "a random act of violence," the State Department said Monday, responding to questions about whether his death was connected to accused CIA spy Aldrich H. Ames.

A U.S. investigation concluded that Woodruff's highway death last year in the former Soviet republic "was not politically motivated," State Department spokesman Mike McCurry said in a written statement.

Woodruff is believed to have been a CIA agent. CIA Director R. James Woolsey flew to Tbilisi to bring home his body.

Ames, accused with his wife, Rosario, of conspiracy to commit espionage, has been reported by several news organizations to have visited Georgia in July, a month before Woodruff was killed.

Woodruff was shot in the head while traveling with three Georgian acquaintances. Anzor Sharmaidze, whose car had stalled, has confessed to firing at Woodruff's vehicle when it did not stop for him, McCurry said. He was sentenced to 15 years at hard labor.

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