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. joe from London UK.

    This is an unfortunate news to hear,That shoud be locked up for a long time,its not just a threat...i think he means it...

    August 7, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  2. yyovette

    From the very beginning my family and i have feared that Mr. Obama would be a target, because of skin color...But, like some readers here believe, why does it has to be from Hillary? Why can't it be from the republican oil tycoons? Besides, what happened to FREEEDOM OF SPEECH? And, although it was stupid to tell the Secret Service this "joke", i can understand what the guy meant – he meant that IF he would do it, he'll do it simple, not with so much elaboration...
    It's sad that people STILL can't be color blind when it comes to another HUMAN. You know, HUMAN, like we ALL are. So Obama is black, AND? Beware of those that will vote for him JUST BECAUSE on the outside he is black? Or the ones that WILL NOT vote for him because on the outside he is not white. How can we expect things to change if WE haven't changed... Besides, Bush has messed up everything so badly, that two terms would not be enough for ANY democrat to fix things up... I am a Democrat and, unless he (Obama) chooses a running partner whom I believe is qualified enough, i will NOT be voting for him – i think that this HUMAN BEING is not fully capable of running our LAND OF THE FREE. Skin color HAS NOT determined my decision...

    August 7, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  3. Duke

    Matt, Canoga Park August 7th, 2008 4:24 pm ET

    "Jesse Jackson said he wanted to do Barack bodily harm as well and his threat was caught on camera so there is no denying that he did it."

    Matt! WAKE UP!!!?

    August 7, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  4. Dianne in Fort Wayne

    Secret your job...lock him up and throw away the key...he has a mental problem...he is a threat to society and to our soon to be President...Obama!

    August 7, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  5. Clintonmama

    The NO-bama camp put him up to it to make NO-bama appear like the victim of racists and haters!! I'm going to write in Hillary Clinton's name come November. All the Clinton supporters out there should do the same. We don't have to settle for either of the other two.

    August 7, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  6. R U for real?

    DEB August 7th, 2008 4:35 pm ET



    What a disgusting comment!! You make a great case for retroactive birth control.

    August 7, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  7. Matt from Mesa, Arizona


    Barack, you are the greatest democratic candidate eva!

    BARACK 08!

    August 7, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  8. The Bu

    To Matt and those who may think like him (thinking the Jesse Jackson situation is a double standard); there is a difference in threatening to kill someone, especially a President or Presidential candidate and "threatening" (if you really wanna use that word) to cut someone's n*ts off as Jesse Jackson did. Am I defending Jesse, hell no. All I'm saying is that this man was interviewed by the Secret Service, after making what can now be constituted as a terroristic threat to a man running for President of the United States, and repeated again. That's idiotic! What Jesse did was downright stupid! There is a difference, hence, there is no double standard. You can't go around threatening to KILL someone in Obama or McCain's (or even Bush) position. You just can't do it!! They were right to arrest him.

    August 7, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  9. Rasputin

    He had plans to kill George W. Bush as well. CNN actualyl edited that part of the story out from the AP.

    August 7, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  10. Steve

    he also said he wanted to kill Bush he isn't black. got news for you the guy just sounds stupid to me.

    August 7, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  11. Ed

    Wow I am glad you said "man" in the headline. When I first glanced at it my only thought was Hilliary is at it again.

    August 7, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  12. Bob

    Oh give me a break. There doesn't look to be a shred of credibility to this threat. It's just a stunt to make everybody think this Obama idiot is another JFK. People are so gullible.

    August 7, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  13. Belle

    I am very disappointed in those that say "Hillary" put him up to it.

    Not more vote for McCain.

    August 7, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  14. Marc in DeKalb, IL

    So, if this man is being arrested, why isn't Jesse Jackson being arrested? They essentially commited the same crime.

    August 7, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  15. Pa Voter

    Equally as bad is publicizing this. Just lock him up & NOT call the press.
    My bet is that others to will try to change the course of history.

    August 7, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  16. Joe

    If anyting happen to Obama, that will be a turning point around the world
    . From slavery, to apathie in south Africa.- , imperialism, coup deta, KKK,
    sabotage at all level and much more evil to mention but few. "Cowards dies many time before thier real death but vengence dies but one" All to just keep black people down.

    August 7, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  17. Jonathon Baker

    I think that anyone threatening our next president in such a way should be sent to a maximum security prison for the entire length of Obama's presidency with no possibility for parole, no questions asked period!

    August 7, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  18. Bob

    "This is only a preview of what's to come, and many in the black community have expected these type of antics."

    Of course they have, because they're used to this sort of thing in their communities. Or more properly *from* their communities. Except in those communities (if you can call them that), it's usually more than just threatening to shoot, isn't it?

    August 7, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  19. bob

    This vocabulary of Hillary Clinton is scary, really scary and the media needs to drop it!!

    August 7, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  20. Big Mike

    I knew this would happen sooner or later! I'm constantly afraid for him.
    "Obama 08"

    August 7, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  21. rashid

    all i have to say is we are not going to sit on our hands if something happens to this black leader

    August 7, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  22. chyk o

    I don't honestly know what people gain by killing an innocent person who did no harm to them. All of us have been afraid that nuts like this will rear their ugly face in this campaign and we pray that they will not succeed. This guy should be investigated, water board him to get to the truth and send him to Cuba.

    August 7, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  23. hitobito

    There are psychopathic nuts everywhere. And the State of Florida has more than its share. These idiots need to be locked up for life. Every threat against either Obama or McCain must be taken seriously. One of these men will be the POTUS. I personally hope its Senator Obama. But if its Senator McCain, it wouldn't hurt me either. As an investor in energy companies and energy related companies, I like high refined fuel prices and high crude oil prices. I also hope we drill off of Miami Beach, Malibu, and anywhere else there is oil. The major fear I have about McCain is he may attack Iran and then we will see unleaded regular at $20 a gallon or more when the iranians blockade the Strait of Hormuz which they can do easily by mining the two three mile channels through the Strait. No military power in the world including the US can prevent them from disrupting 40% of the world's oil supply.

    August 7, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  24. Robert

    Just a joke? I'm sure he and no one else are laughing.

    August 7, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  25. eartraining

    To the person who kept calling Obama "unelectable" ... no you don't get to decide that. You only decide who you vote for. The election decides who is electable and on November 4th Barack Obama will be elected President of the United States. America does not deserve a 3rd McCain term!

    Also: The man that threatened Obama is scum. Pure & simple.

    August 7, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
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