Video of man accused in Whitmer kidnapping plot shown in trial: ‘Go right now or else they’re gonna die’

Brandon Caserta accused of vowing to shoot, kill police

On Thursday (March 24), we heard from not one but two of the prosecution's star witnesses in the trial of four men accused of plotting to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks both pleaded guilty in connection with that plot, and now their testimony is helping answer whether that plot was serious or just a lot of talk.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The trial against four men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer continued on Thursday.

Video evidence was shown in court that accused Brandon Caserta of vowing to shoot and kill police.

“If we’re doing a recon or something and we come up on some of them, dude. You better not give them a chance. You either tell them to go right now, or else they’re gonna die. Period,” Caserta said.

Wolverine Watchmen leader, 26-year-old Ty Garbin, is a star witness for the prosecution. He testified that he made untraceable ghost guns and tried to make explosives

The lawyer for Caserta insisted that Garbin was going to sell a ghost gun and kill the buyer. Michael Hill is Caserta’s attorney.

Read: Complete Whitmer kidnapping plot coverage


Michael Hill: You went to a gun deal. You were going to kill him.

Ty Garbin: I was there to protect in case he was robbed.

Michael Hill: You were going to kill him, correct?

Hill went on, highlighting Garbin’s criminal activity.

Michael Hill: Caserta did not help you sell ghost guns, build a shoot house. He did not give you any money, wasn’t making explosives with you?

Ty Garbin: No.

Read: Man in Gov. Whitmer kidnap plot: No one twisted our arms


Kaleb Franks, 27, also took the witness stand on Thursday. He’s another star witness for federal prosecutors. He had pleaded guilty to charges and agreed to testify against the men he said he plotted with.

He told the jury he was depressed and had money problems, which is why he got involved with the alleged plot to kidnap Whitmer. For him, he said it was a suicide mission.

“I was hoping I would be killed during the process,” Franks said. “I no longer wanted to live.”

Read: Complete Local 4 Defenders coverage


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If you, or someone you know, is struggling with suicidal thoughts you are not alone. Help is available. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 to provide support at 800-273-8255.


About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.