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. susie

    Was this guy white? Jessie Jackson threats were on camera and because he is black nothing was hardly said about it. Obama even forgave Jackson.

    August 7, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  2. Chester

    He needs to sue the pants off the secret service (multi-million dollar verdict is in order). Freedom of speach still exists in America, and people are permitted to freely make idle chit chat without fear of arrest. This man made some stupid statement and the Orwellian police arrest him, eventhough he lacks the means, or intent to do it.

    August 7, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  3. Tony

    "Can't the Secret Service take a joke?"

    Hopefully, no.

    August 7, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  4. Ricky

    Not a joke when his cars and rooms are loaded with that kind of ammunition!! If a student enters a school and says anything about a killing, they will be expelled...and if the kid had bomb making materials ready at home you better believe there would be jail time. Now compare a school with the next president of the US and you have a bit of a difference. Major props to the SS for nabbing this trash.

    August 7, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  5. Terri

    Probably a Hillary supporter these people will do anything that is why she only suspended her campaign

    Go Obama and may the lord be with you

    August 7, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  6. David S. Robins

    Sadly, there will probably be many threats like this against Senator Obama. All of them will come from right wing Republicans who love GWBush and John McCain. There are probably several major conspiracies already under way led by such people and funded by rich thugs close to Bush/McCain. McCain likes to brag about his courage, but we decent Americans already know that Senator Obama is a far braver man than McCain ever was or ever will be. Let us pray that he survives all these threats from such right wing, born again, so-called "christian" loonies and goes on to win in November. Then America's redemption can begin.

    August 7, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  7. Neil K, Lake Forest CA

    DEB, that's deplorable for you to say now you actually want Clinton to be VP in light of this news. There is nothing funny nor charming about what you said, and you prove the point of those who say that Hillary supporters only want her to be president merely so she can be president. That's beyond repugnant.

    August 7, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  8. georgina, flushing, ny

    Obama supporters: stop with that hatred. You're insinuating Hillary is behind this! You are worst than this guy.

    August 7, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  9. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Whining Tommy Hussein in St. Louis August 7th, 2008 4:32 pm ET

    "So, are the blind, bitter, hateful, glorying-in-their-ignorance PUMA psychos with their major malfunction going to openly wish that Geisel would have been able to carry out his apparent threat?"

    What rock did you and all the other PUMA bashers crawl out from under? Your obvious hatred of fellow Democrats makes me as a Republican glad that I'm not in your lame party.

    August 7, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  10. rbeamer

    Matt, Canoga Park

    What a ignorant thing to say. Its not a double standard. your a cold blooded racist. Jesse said that he would like to cut his blank off. not kill him with a sniper rifle. Its people like you that hold America back. Jesse never said that he wanted to kill Obama.

    August 7, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  11. Lynette in NC

    Hello Lynette in CA. We must pray without ceasing for the Obama family. OBAMA '08 and '12.

    August 7, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  12. Eric ( Minnesota)

    DEB August 7th, 2008 4:35 pm ET



    August 7, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  13. Joe

    The bitterness and hatefulness I hear and read expressed about Obama and McCain is troubling to me.
    The vilification of our political opponents may help rally the troops but may also incite some crazy person.
    These are two good men and to hate either one shows lacking in our own character.

    August 7, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  14. rpsdog2

    Why weren't charges filed against Jesse Jackson, he threatened Obama? Could it be the color of his skin?

    August 7, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  15. Freddie Brown Puma

    What's all these praying on the comments about ? You guys are "gooder than thou" fanatics. Keep your prayers to yourself.
    I don't think God is on Obama's side. Obama is himself a Messiah.
    Don't you guys get it yet ? He will save our souls.

    August 7, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  16. stella joe

    I can't believe something so horror is still happening in 08.
    I bet his was a stupid white dude

    August 7, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  17. Lucy

    May God protect him from some sick person who wants to make a name for himself.

    Lucy ( a 70 year old white woman originally for Hillary, now proudly an Obama supporter who wants to see a Black president in her lifetime)

    August 7, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  18. Mel

    Is it true that Hillary was going to hire him?????

    August 7, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |

    B.Obama must be having a bad time in the polls he can't pull ahead.
    But the way to incite the media into talking about him and this has happen over and over. You may be to bias to notice that when ever a competitor is ahead of him his office stirs the pot to get his name on top and more air time. I, have heard other people make similar comments.

    August 7, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  20. rocky

    oh well, what does he or/they expect. i think the man is evil.

    August 7, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  21. bob in L.A.

    I have a feeling this will not be the last one we hear about unfortunately.
    If Obama's lead in the polls starts to surge, the recently silent members of the KKK or some other crazy group are just likely to say "no way" to a black man in the white house and make an attempt on him.
    We can only hopethat does not happen and that today's security is smarter than these lunatics.

    August 7, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  22. Dick in Sioux Falls

    If insane Clinton backers don't back off, they will have to share responsibility if anything untoward happens to Barack Obama. The hatred they have generated is almost impossible for me to believe, some of the vitriol coming from people for whom I have had the highest regard, until their twisted hate-filled rhetoric directed at a man who is for the most part gentlemanly and caring in his treatment of Hillary. Only the Annie Oakley comes to mind as something I wish he hadn't said, even though I shared his feelings or even had stronger feelings about her blatant appeal to the NRA during the Pennsylvania Primary.

    August 7, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  23. Freddie Brown Puma

    If this guy really meant to kill Obama – he would not be saying it out loud. Get a grip people. Focus on why Obama is losing his edge.

    We are so tired of seeing him and his acting Presidential.
    Is there no room for humility ? When will he debate McCain ?
    Afraid of looking stupid on National TV ? Can't possibly be.. can it ?
    If Obama is our Messiah, he should be able to outshine an old geezer like McCain. Why is he afraid to ?

    August 7, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  24. KenB, MI

    can you say "straight Jacket"?

    August 7, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  25. chris

    I'm not for Obama either, but I don't wish harm upon him...


    locking someone up for making a comment that he'd like to kill someone else, another American, is a little extreme....I'd say there are, maybe, 40 million people in the United States who at some point told someone they wish someone else was hurt or dead or both...I know I don't want my taxes going to pay for these peoples' food and entertainment in jail if they are not a REAL threat to anyone. I seriously doubt this pansy would try anything, honestly.

    August 7, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27