A Milford man was among three defendants sentenced Thursday for their role in supporting a plot to kidnap and assassinate Gov. Whitmer.
Paul Bellar of Milford (at left in picture), along with Joseph Morrison (center) and Pete Musico (left), both of Munith, were convicted by a Jackson County jury in October on three counts; Providing material support for terrorist acts, Gang membership; and Carrying or possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Bellar was ordered by Judge Thomas Wilson of the 4th Circuit Court in Jackson County to serve 7 to 20 years, while Musico was sentenced to a 12-20 year term and Morrison, 10-20 years.
“The defendants’ ultimate goals were to kill police and elected officials and kidnap the Governor of Michigan. These extraordinarily violent ends, coupled with the unequivocal conviction from the jury, demand the maximum sentence,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. “Appropriate consequences for illegal acts are necessary to deter criminal behavior. Law enforcement officers that put their lives on the line to protect our residents and communities, and those elected as part of our representative government, deserve to know those who threaten their safety will face the full penalty of the law.”
Assistant Attorney General Sunita Doddamani noted that Bellar had made multiple statements that went well beyond inappropriate comments.
“We’re talking about comments, and these are all admitted evidence, saying things like, ‘I hope the cops put their back plates in tonight,’ you know, because he wanted to shoot cops in the back,” said Doddamani, adding that Bellar had also stated, ‘I swear to God, I’m going to f–king Molotov her house,’ in reference to throwing a Molotov cocktail in the governor’s house because he was mad at her pandemic restrictions. These are not just inappropriate comments.”
Gov. Whitmer also made a victim impact statement via recorded video, in which she said she and her family had changed as a result of the plot, and asked the judge to impose a sentence that “meets the gravity of what they have done,” adding that “our system is stronger than plots created in basements.”
Morrison, Bellar and Musico were charged under Michigan’s Anti-Terrorism Act of 2002. They are three of several men that were arrested on domestic terrorism charges after a joint operation by state and federal authorities in early October 2020 exposed a plot that included targeting law enforcement officers, threatening violence to incite a civil war, planning an attack on the state Capitol building and kidnapping government officials, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.