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Militia members accused in Whitmer kidnapping plot face up to life in prison

Published: Oct. 8, 2020 at 7:17 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Each of six men facing federal charges for an alleged plot to kidnap or kill Gov. Gretchen Whitmer faces up to life in prison.

Seven other men facing charges from the Michigan Attorney General’s Office face 22 or 42 years in prison based on the felony charges filed against them.

The six federal suspects -- five from Michigan and one from Delaware -- are charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping and other charges. They were identified as:

  • Adam Fox, 34, of Grand Rapids.
  • Ty Garbin, 24, of Hartland.
  • Kaleb Franks, 24, of Waterford.
  • Daniel Harris, 23, of Luther.
  • Brandon Caserta, 32, of Canton and Woodhaven.
  • Barry Croft of Delaware.

They’re accused of recruiting other members to their plan, which at one point included storming the State Capitol in Lansing to take hostages and potentially kill Whitmer. They allegedly later decided on kidnapping the governor from her vacation home before the November presidential election.

None of the six federal suspects has much of a criminal record.

The seven suspects facing state charges under the Michigan Terrorism Act allegedly belong to the Wolverine Watchmen militia group based in Michigan.

They are accused of trying to identify home addresses of police officers, planning violence and attempting to start a civil war -- along with assisting in the alleged plot to storm the Michigan Capitol and kidnap Whitmer.

The seven state suspects and their criminal charges are:

  • Paul Bellar, 21, of Milford -- Providing material support for terrorist acts, gang membership and carrying a firearm while committing a felony.
  • Shawn Fix, 38, of Belleville -- Providing material support for terrorist acts and carrying a firearm while committing a felony.
  • Eric Molitor, 26, of Cadillac -- Providing material support for terrorist acts and carrying a firearm while committing a felony.
  • Michael Null, 38, of Plainwell -- Providing material support for terrorist acts and carrying a firearm while committing a felony.
  • William Null of Shelbyville -- Providing material support for terrorist acts and carrying a firearm while committing a felony.
  • Pete Musico, 42, of Munith -- Making a threat of terrorism, gang membership, providing material support for terrorist acts and carrying a firearm while committing a felony.
  • Joseph Morrison, 26, of Munith -- Making a threat of terrorism, gang membership, providing material support for terrorist acts and carrying a firearm while committing a felony.

The Nulls are twin brothers while Musico and Morrison both live together in Jackson County. Bellar, Musico and Morrison all face up to 42 years in prison if convicted while Fix, Molitor and the Nulls all face up to 22 years in prison if convicted.

None of the seven state suspects has an extensive criminal record.

All 13 suspects were arrested after state and federal law enforcement agencies served nearly 20 search warrants around Michigan on Wednesday evening. Most of them were arrested at a meeting on the east side of Michigan, where they allegedly were pooling money to buy explosives and exchanging tactical gear.

The search warrants happened all over Michigan from Grand Rapids and the Kalamazoo area to Oakland County and Jackson County. Other warrants were served near Shiawassee County’s city of Ovid and the town of Luther in Lake County.

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