August 7th, 2008
09:40 PM ET
14 years ago

New Details: Man held for alleged Obama assassination threat


[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Raymond Hunter Geisel is being held on charges that he threatened to assassinate Sen. Barack Obama."]
MIAMI, Florida (CNN) - A man was being held in Florida on Thursday on charges he told classmates at a training seminar that he would kill Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama if he is elected, according to a law enforcement official and court documents.

The threats came just days before Obama was scheduled to visit Florida and were made by a person discovered to have ammunition, a handgun and other weapons, authorities said.

An affidavit filed by a Secret Service agent in U.S. District Court claims that Raymond Hunter Geisel, of Marathon, Florida, threatened to "kill, kidnap and cause bodily harm upon a major candidate for president of the United States, that is, Senator Barack Obama."

A search of Geisel's vehicle and a hotel room in Miami, where Geisel was attending a bail bondsman training class, found a 9-mm handgun, ammunition that included armor-piercing and rifle bullets, police-style emergency lights, body armor, a machete and two canisters of tear gas, among other military-style items, according to the document.

Agents say that classmates of Geisel reported that, between July 25-28, Geisel used a racial slur toward Obama and said "if he gets elected, I'll assassinate him myself."

A classmate said that, one day after class, she also heard Geisel say "that he hated George W. Bush and that he wanted to put a bullet in the president's head."

Obama made several campaign stops in Florida on Friday, a day before federal agents arrested Geisel at a Holiday Inn Express in Miami.

During an interview with the Secret Service, Geisel said he couldn't remember whether he threatened Obama and the president, but told agents that "if he wanted to kill Senator Obama he would simply shoot him with a sniper rifle."

He later said that comment was a joke, the agent said in the document.

Geisel also said he has post-traumatic stress disorder, which affects his memory, and had once checked himself into a psychiatric institution for treatment.

The affidavit, signed by Special Agent Charles R. Adie, said Geisel "generally provided no excuse" for why he had the weapons and other items - claiming that he collects some of them, that the handgun was for target practice during the bail bondsman course and that he uses the machete and a hatchet for cutting through brush in Maine, where he lived most of his life before moving to Florida in January.

On Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen T. Brown ordered that Geisel be held in jail until his trial, calling him a danger to the community and a risk to run away before his date in court.

The judge noted that Geisel lives on a sailboat, is unemployed and has no strong ties to the Florida area.

Geisel is scheduled to appear in court on August 18. If he has been officially indicted by then, he would enter a plea. If not, it would merely be a preliminary hearing on the charges.

Click here to read the Secret Service affidavit

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Extra
soundoff (662 Responses)
  1. Finbar

    I'm surprised that this yahoo wasn't from Polk County where they have more racist rednecks per sq. foot in the country. "It was a joke," he said. I hope his jail term isn't.

    August 7, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  2. scott lymann

    You Morons who point the finger at Hillary Clinton are just tired clowns. Give it a rest. You are pathetic and sad. What is with all the hate? People of Change? yea right. You are more of the same. SAD!

    August 7, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  3. rachae

    for the fool who is comparing Jessie Jackson's feelings are not a threat. I feel like slapping someone is different from threating a person. How stupid you sound.

    August 7, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  4. Mark Webb

    Too bad!!
    Enough with such idiots!!!!

    August 7, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  5. Rick

    DEB...your comments have been noted and sent to the appropriate authority.

    Even oblique threats are NOT funny.

    August 7, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  6. Terri

    What a crazy looser, keep him locked away.

    August 7, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  7. Get a Clue, St Louis, MO

    I thought that a joke was supposed to be funny and actually make other people laugh. My guess.....people don't think this is funny nor are they laughing.

    August 7, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |



    August 7, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  9. yala

    there is a surge of prayer over you dear Obama.

    August 7, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  10. Tami Gipson

    I think Hilary is a team player and truley has excepted the reality that Obama fairly won the nomination. I think the spin the media is creating is once again... showing just how masagonistic this country still is. If Clinton was a man...this would never be an issue. Honestly what about Mit Romney...he has given his blessing Mccain, but along the way he has verbalized his problem with Mccain. Look, I think everyone should just lighten up and give her the same repsect as we give the fellas. Why are we so scared of strong woman? By they way...her husband was the president and I think she knows how to be a great and supportive partner ans support player.


    August 7, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  11. Kevin, Rochester, NY

    The guy is not too bright... but he did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

    August 7, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  12. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    I believe just a few weeks ago I heard Jesse Jackson threaten to castrate Obama on the air. He wasn't arrested.

    August 7, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  13. AT

    We are praying for the safety of Senator Obama everyday. I know that people are also parying for him as well as Senator McCain. No weapon formed against these men shall prosper.

    DEB we pray for people like you also. You are indeed a very sick person. May God have mercy on your soul. You need help.

    August 7, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  14. Peter E

    BFD! There are dozens of arrests each week for people ACTUALLY attempting to kill our current president, George W. Bush. Still think the media is unbiased?

    August 7, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |

    @ Arin

    Conspiracy Theorists, let the games begin. I'll start it off. I find it curious that this info was released to the press. Are they setting things up?

    You are an idiot, good day.

    August 7, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  16. Informed Voter


    Please keep him safe ....

    August 7, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  17. jimmy


    August 7, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  18. Paulette, MO

    This is why Senator Obama wanted to have a good clean campaign. But no, the GOP insists on attacking people personally, and the crazzies are chomping at the bit to carry out their dastardly deeds.

    The sick deranged mind of this derelict will not be the only psycho out there, and thanks for bringing them out John McCain.

    August 7, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  19. Lourdes

    Yeah, and I'm sure that there's no racial motivation behind psychos like this guy. If anyone were to mention it they'd be accused of playing the "race card"...but O has been receiving threats for over a year now, hence the early secret service protection. Does anyone really believe that this would be the case if he were a white guy?

    Racial hatred is alive and well, and only those of us who are true patriots and know our nation can do better can battle it. NO MORE FEAR AND IGNORANCE!!!!

    August 7, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  20. Rod

    You people who would accuse Hillary or any of her supporters for this insanity...GET A people are SICK and I'm sure Obama wouldn't even want your support. Go AWAY. Get LOST. Leave this site for those of us who would sincerely like to debate the issues without such STUPIDITY.

    August 7, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  21. Tara

    August 7th, 2008 4:35 pm ET

    "It's not a joke. It was only a matter of time. I know this is a cynical opinion of America, but if Obama does win the presidency, he will need to MOST secret service protection of all times. Some people arent ready to have a Black president.

    The FBI called MLK the "most dangerous negro" in America. Who do the think "they" think is most dangerous now?"

    All I have to say is thank you AJ.... you are so on point with this comment

    August 7, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  22. Janet

    Jesse Jackson said on tape that he wanted to "castrate" (a much more cleaned up word for what Jackson really said) Obama. We all heard the tape. Was Jackson locked up? No! Why not?

    August 7, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  23. agent40

    Lock him up at Gitmo,or FT.Leavenworth!

    August 7, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  24. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    I'm so glad I live in the Land of the Free!

    If the article is accurate, all this guy did was postulate a hypothetical situation. Since when is that illegal?

    August 7, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  25. Scott, Wichita

    Regardless of whether he becomes president or not, this kind of stuff is intolerable. I don't know whether the guy meant it or not, but frankly, I don't care. Lock him up for a good long time. When he gets out, he'll have to explain on every job resume "I threatened to kill a presidential candidate in front of the Secret Service." He just screwed up his entire life in one sentence.

    August 7, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
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