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Man who pleaded guilty in Whitmer kidnapping plot testified he was hoping to be killed

Posted at 6:02 PM, Mar 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-24 18:02:07-04

(WXYZ) — A second suspect who pleaded guilty in the plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took the stand in Grand Rapids on Thursday.

Kaleb Franks of Waterford testified in the trial for four men accused of plotting to kidnap the governor.

Franks told the jury why he participated in the plot to kidnap Whitmer in 2020.

Related: Man who pleaded guilty in Whitmer kidnapping plot testifies for prosecution at trial

He testified, “I no longer wanted to live. I was hoping I would be killed in the process.”

Franks testified that his mother, stepdad and stepbrother had died and he was struggling financially.

Four men are on trial facing up to life in prison in the plot to kidnap the Governor over her Covid lockdowns.

Franks also told the jury he took a plea deal last year “because I wanted to tell the truth” and to get the “lowest possible sentence.” Franks has not been sentenced in his plea deal.

He expected he would die, “getting into a shootout with police. In my opinion, you would be bound to die.”

The other star witness for the government finished his testimony. Ty Garbin of Hartland faced intense cross-examination from defense attorney Joshua Blanchard, who represents Barry Croft.

Blanchard asked if Garbin considers himself a snitch going to prison and if the government is using his testimony to win a conviction.

Garbin took a plea deal with the feds weeks after his arrest in October of 2020, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnapping. He said, “I’ve been made only the promise that no further charges will follow.”

Those charges would have been using weapons of mass destruction, destructive device, and ghost gun charges that would have enhanced his sentence.

Garbin has been sentenced to six years in prison and that could still be reduced. Garbin says that has not been promised to him by the feds.

Blanchard: "They promised to consider doing it, right?"

Garbin: "To consider it, yes."

Blanchard asked about how high the stakes are, with Garbin’s life on the line.

Blanchard: "You knew there was a felony punishable up to life in prison, right?"

Garbin: "Yes."

Blanchard: "And you understand that in federal court a life sentence means life, right?"

Garbin: "That’s correct."

Blanchard: "You understand that if you get a life sentence in federal court you die in a cage, right?"

Garbin: "That’s correct."

Testimony continued into the details of the plot, the planning, and the training the men did over several months in 2020.

Brandon Caserta of Canton Township, Daniel Harris of Lake Orion, Adam Fox of Grand Rapids and Barry Croft of Delaware face up to life in prison if convicted.