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Members of Wolverine Watchmen Convicted on All Charges

LANSING – Three members of the Wolverine Watchmen were found guilty on all charges by a Jackson County jury, Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today.  

Joseph Morrison, Paul Bellar and Pete Musico were convicted on the following charges in the Fourth Circuit Court: 

Joseph Morrison, of Munith, was convicted of:  

  • Gang membership, a 20-year felony that may be served as a consecutive sentence;
  • Providing material support for terrorist acts; and
  • Carrying or possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony; felony firearm – a two-year mandatory prison sentence to be served consecutively.  

Paul Bellar, of Milford, was convicted of:  

  • Providing material support for terrorist acts, a 20-year felony and/or $20,000 fine;
  • Gang membership, a 20-year felony, which may be served as a consecutive sentence; and
  • Carrying or possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony; felony firearm – a two-year mandatory prison sentence to be served consecutively. 

Pete Musico, of Munith, was convicted of: 

  • Gang membership, a 20-year felony that may be served as a consecutive sentence;
  • Providing material support for terrorist acts, a 20-year felony and/or $20,000 fine; and
  • Carrying or possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony; felony firearm – a two-year mandatory prison sentence to be served consecutively. 

“The prosecution of these cases prevented horrific acts from taking the lives of innocent people. Terrorist attacks and mass shootings are not spontaneous events, they are the result of planning, plotting and amassing resources in a build-up to violent acts.  If prosecutors had known about the events leading up to the tragedy in Oxford, they could have intervened and prevented the massacre of innocent students. 

“Instead of only reacting to known threats, it is imperative that law enforcement be proactive in order to save lives. This office will not sit idly by and watch while armed terrorists plan acts of civil unrest with the intent of causing mayhem and murder. These are not merely acts of ‘harmless chatter’ and ‘wishful thinking.’ These are criminal conspiracies to conduct dangerous acts, and it is incumbent upon law enforcement to treat this activity as such. 

“Make no mistake, the quick actions of law enforcement saved lives. We are pleased the jury clearly understood that,” said Nessel.

“These defendants believed violence was an appropriate way to address an ideological grievance. Today’s verdict sends a clear message they were wrong. Violence is never the answer, and the FBI remains committed to investigating and holding accountable anyone who seeks to further an ideological cause through violence.  

“This was a large-scale investigation conducted by law enforcement agencies not only inside Michigan but across the country, and I want to thank the Joint Terrorism Task Force and each of the member agencies who worked tirelessly to ensure these defendants could not carry out their deadly plans.

“Citizens across the State can take comfort in the fact that law enforcement agencies across Michigan are working together every day to protect our communities from ideological extremists seeking to do harm,” said Special Agent Mara Schneider, spokesperson for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Detroit field office.

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. 

Morrison, Bellar and Musico will be sentenced on December 15 at 9 a.m.

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