Closing arguments in Whitmer kidnap plot case • Armed carjackers in Detroit • Belle Isle's slide reopens
MONDAY NEWS HIT - Closing arguments are expected Monday in the retrial of two men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan's governor in 2020.
The prosecution rested its case last week in the trial of Barry Croft Jr. and Adam Fox, the two men whose case led to a hung jury in April after the U.S. failed to secure convictions against four men.
Both men declined to testify in their case, which their defense rested on Friday. While the U.S. has painted the men as masterminds behind a plot to abduct Gretchen Whitmer during a volatile election season, their attorneys have said both men were entrapped by the government and instead were typically high when they discussed how they would carry out the plot.
Both men have been in jail since late-2020 when they were arrested along with several others. Two of the men who were charged in the plot have since pled guilty to federal charges, while two other men were acquitted at their trial.
Both Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks, accomplices who took plea deals, have testified against Croft and Fox.
During the case, the jury heard secretly recorded conversations and read violent social media posts, some written before the FBI got involved. Two undercover agents and an informant testified for hours, explaining how the men trained in Wisconsin and Michigan and visited Elk Rapids to see Whitmer’s home.
Croft, 46, is from Bear, Delaware. Fox, 39, was living in the basement of a vacuum shop in the Grand Rapids area.
Whitmer, a Democrat, has blamed then-President Donald Trump for stoking mistrust and fomenting anger over coronavirus restrictions and refusing to condemn hate groups and right-wing extremists like those charged in the plot.
Barry Croft Jr. (left) and Adam Fox
She said Sunday that she hasn’t been following the retrial, but that she remains concerned about "violent rhetoric in this country."
"This is a dangerous trend that is happening. We cannot let it become normalized and I do hope that anyone that’s out there plotting to hurt their fellow Americans is held accountable," Whitmer said at the Michigan Democratic Party’s convention in Lansing.
Trump recently called the kidnapping plan a "fake deal."
The Associated Press contributed to this report
Armed suspects sought in Detroit carjacking
Detroit police are investigating a carjacking after an 18-year-old who had exited a gas station and got into his car was approached by two armed suspects that demanded his vehicle. One drove off in his car and the other got into a minivan and fled with an unknown driver.
Police are have activated their commercial auto theft unit to locate the suspects involved in the theft. It happened around 1 p.m. on Aug. 8, a release from police said. The incident happened at the Amoco gas station in the 9600 block of Gratiot after a teen male got into his car, a 2014 Chrysler 300 S.
The suspect that drove off in the victim's car is described as a male who is 6-foot-3-inches and about 250 pounds. He was wearing a black ski mask, light-colored hooded sweatshirt, black t-shirt, and black pants. The other suspect who got back into a light-colored minivan with an unknown driver had gray hair and a goatee. He was also wearing a ski mask and had on a camouflage sweatshirt.
Armed suspects involved in carjacking in Detroit.
If anyone recognizes these suspects, or has any information pertaining to this crime, please call the Detroit Police Department’s Commercial Auto Theft Unit at (313) 596-2555 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-Speak Up
See photos of the victim's stolen car here.
Man dies after driving 100 mph, crashing into pole in Warren
Warren police are investigating a fatal accident on Groesbeck.
Officers say one person died after a single vehicle crash around 5 a.m. Police said the investigation would require shutting down Groesbeck for hours Monday morning.
The incident happened near the intersection of Groesbeck and Eight Mile.
It's unclear what caused the crash, but speed could be a factor, police said. The man was reportedly traveling about 100 mph when he struck a pole. The vehicle, a blue car, had heavy front-end damage from striking a pole.
Giant slide at Belle Isle reopens
Belle Isle Park announced today that the Giant Slide is reopened and will run for the next two weeks.
A little water will be sprayed onto the slide to help control the speed, the park said in their announcement. The Giant Slide was closed at Belle Isle Park on Friday because of speed concerns.
The slide will be open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the next two weeks from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Giant Slide Rides only cost $1. Slide riders must also be 48 inches tall or taller.
"Please follow directions given by the operator, remember to lean forward. Have a great time and we'll see you on the Giant Slide!"
See DNR footage of the giant slide here.
Man ‘had an angel’ looking over him when home exploded
A man is hospitalized with burns to his body after his home in Sumpter Township exploded over the weekend. The man had just walked into the house when his feet fell through a crawl space and an explosion leveled the structure.
In its wake was a massive fire and not a lot else. The man is now at University of Michigan Hospital recovering. His cousin said he survived thanks to a miracle.
"We are very very fortunate. The only way we can explain it is he truly had an angel. God was walking with him because there's no way he could have made it out of this house," said Jamie Craig, the victim's cousin.
The fire happened around 5 p.m. Saturday. It's unclear what caused the fire, but family say the man had hooked up a newly-filled propane tank a couple of days before the explosion in preparation for the winter. The man's injuries weren't as severe due to his work uniform protecting him from the fire.
Live on FOX 2
It's going to be another 80-degree day with some muggy conditions before rain returns in the late morning and afternoon. Not all of Southeast Michigan will see rain but those on the east side should see the most.
What else we're watching
- The Detroit Lions pulled off a victory over the weekend when they defeated the Indianapolis Colts 27-26. Both backup quarterbacks threw touchdowns while wide receiver Tom Kennedy caught two touchdowns.
- Charging station construction is expected to ramp up in Michigan after federal funding was approved, bolstering the government support for electric vehicle infrastructure. The firm Volta will announce a partnership with the state of Michigan to build charging stations in Detroit.
- A panel of local public health experts are expected to conduct a comprehensive pandemic review on the state's response to COVID-19. The review will commence with a media roundtable Monday morning at the public health association's headquarters in Lansing. The conversation begins at 9:30 a.m.
- Has Tudor Dixon found her running mate? The GOP-hopeful running for governor picked Shane Hernandez to bid for lieutenant governor. It may not be the end of the things however as the former state lawmaker will still need to be confirmed at a nominating convention this week. Garrett Soldano may have something to say about that
- Michigan's average gas prices fell another 4 cents, this time down to $3.91 a gallon. It's 75 cents higher than last year, but a far cry from the historic highs that gas prices hit in June.
USA Mullet Championships: Wisconsin teen, boy win first prize in separate divisions
The votes are in and America has at least two winners in the USA Mullet Championship.
Winners were announced in the teens and kids division Sunday.
Emmitt Bailey from Menomonie, Wisconsin took home the prize in the kids division while Cayden Kershaw from Wausau, Wisconsin, took home the top prize in the teen division.