State News

Extremists accused in Whitmer plot described as 'neighbors you stayed away from'

October 08, 2020, 5:52 PM

Top, from left: Ty Garbin, Adam Fox, Daniel Harris, Michael Null.
Bottom, from left: Kaleb Franks, William Null (twin brother of Michael), Brandon Caserta, Eric Molitar. 

(Photos: Kent and Antrim County Sheriffs Offices)

Several men facing terror charges in an alleged plot to attack the state Capitol building and kidnap government officials, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, were reportedly disliked and feared by neighbors.

The Daily Beast reported Tuesday that Joseph Morrison, 26, and Pete Musico, 42, were a scourge on the tiny town of Munith, west of Ann Arbor, where they lived in a ramshackle house along a country road of otherwise well-kept homes. Neighbors told the website they were “disrespectful” and hosted large gatherings in which “bullets would be flying off their property in all directions.”

“They were the kind of neighbors you stayed away from,” (a neighbor) told The Daily Beast. “They were mean. You knew they were involved with the militia. That was obvious from the constant shooting.”

Meanwhile, a former neighbor of Paul Bellar, a 21-year-old accused in the same plot, tells Fox 2 he once threatened her with a gun at the Milford mobile home park where they both lived. Bellar, the neighbor said, was evicted six months ago because he couldn't work and was unable to pay rent. She believed it fueled his resentment toward the governor.

Morrison, Musico, and Bellar are among seven people who face state terrorism charges in a plot to storm the Capitol, Attorney General Dana Nessel said Thursday. All were allegedly affiliated with a militia group called the Wolverine Watchmen, of which Morrison and Musico are founding members. Another six people face federal charges in the case.

Joseph Morrison and Pete Musico
(Photos: Jackson County Office of the Sheriff)

Images show junk strewn across the lawn and an antenna toppled on the roof of Morrison and Musico's home. There's also a dumpster on the property, along with, naturally, a Confederate flag and original American flag depicting the 13 colonies.

The pair are in the Jackson County Jail after a district court magistrate set a $10-million bond for each at Thursday's arraignment after an assistant attorney general called them an extreme danger to public safety.

Musico and another militia member expressed far-right views online, the Daily Beast reports.

A Facebook page for Eric Molitor, another Michigan man who faces state charges in the case, features praise for 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who’s accused of killing two protesters in Kenosha, Wis. Molitor also posted about conspiracy theories relating to the QAnon movement, posting the QAnon hashtag “Save Our Children” and images about human-trafficking conspiracy theories.

Molitor had previously posted images indicating affiliation with “three-percenter” militias, a far-right paramilitary movement.

Musico, meanwhile, was vocal on YouTube: 

... sharing rambling tirades against taxes, gun control, and the “Deep State”—as well as a rant from 2019 entitled “Gretchen Whitmer Interview” in which he railed against her policies around auto ownership. In the video, he implied that he was going to obtain an in-person interview with Whitmer.


Read more:  The Daily Beast

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