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. S.M

    I don't believe that this was a joke. This individual mean't every word and he should be thrown in jail for the rest of his life.

    August 7, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Can't the Secret Service take a joke?

    August 7, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  3. kcmookie

    Sadly, the first of many to come I am sure. Why do people so desperately want to detroy a person simply because they are black or because they want to change the world and make it a better place? I will never understand the thought process, but I know it is out there. So sad.

    August 7, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  4. Nova from NV

    Obama is the biggest celebrity running for the king of the world title. All he does is pandering for votes. He is an unelectable inexperienced elitist. I think people who vote for him are as naive as he is. But for a person wanting to kill Obama is crazy and should be sent to jail period. Obama may be unelectable but I think he is a good man and a good father.

    McCain 08!

    August 7, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  5. Dave F

    This country is filled with ignorant, racist morons. It is a shame that in the year 2008 we have to deal with people threatening to kill our leaders.

    August 7, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  6. NC Resident

    If you didn't know, Obama has been under threats since the beginning of his campaign. Now that it is getting close to November, I bet you we will see a spike in the threats especially if he wins.
    God help us if that should happen.

    August 7, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  7. Re

    I hope Obama appreciates his protection!!

    August 7, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  8. Bill from ALabama

    Jessie Jackson threatened to castrate Obama on National Television..............has he been detained?????????

    August 7, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  9. Susan

    Someone just trying to get in the news. Glad they caight him.


    August 7, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. biffington, biff

    Father in Heaven, Please keep Senator Obama and his family safe. In Jesus' name I pray.


    August 7, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. Ennis

    Please lock this person up for a really long time...

    August 7, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. P, CA

    Sad thing is: I'm sure this won't be the last. I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I'm not looking for excitement in the stories of the day because my life is "so boring." But seriously, with the behavior of some of these blogger, even, I feel like this is the tip of the iceberg.

    Funny how hate affects people. They say it takes more muscles to smile than it does to frown. So I guess people like taking the easy way out.

    August 7, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  13. Becky

    The lack of intelligence is clearly shown in his poor choice of words used in his "joke".

    August 7, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  14. Susan

    I meant Obama/Hillary

    August 7, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  15. NELSON Colorado Springs, Co

    Something like this can't be taking lighty lock him up. Go Obama

    August 7, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. Justin, Ohio

    Absolutely horrible! Obama and I have completely different views, but I would never want anything like this to happen to anyone running for office.

    August 7, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  17. Howard

    Sad to say, I've been expecting precisely this sort of thing. In fact, I believe that much of the disparity between the polls showing how many are willing to vote Democratic and how many are willing to vote for Obama can be attributed to latent anti-black feelings. This is no reason not to elect Senator Obama to the Presidency, but it is a reason why, more so than most presidential candidates, he needs to choose as his running mate someone who could do the job as President.

    August 7, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  18. james,Fort Lauderdale

    I hope he doesn't get release anytime soon, Barack received many threats about his life since he announced his candidacy, anyone that's in their right mind will not joke about Killing somebody, specifically a major party candidate for the presidency of the united states...."Simply shoot him with a sniper rifle" seems like he was putting some good thoughts to it too, he doesn't want get close to him but use a sniper riffle instead...I congratulate the secret services for following up on the threat.

    August 7, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  19. Leah DiMarco, Texas

    It's pretty strange that this story comes out about Obama right when Hillary is back in the news!!!

    August 7, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  20. Joyce, ny

    Keep 'em safe please.

    August 7, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. Connie, Tennessee

    The crazies are out . The racists will be out in full force once they see that there's no stopping Obama. He will be our next President and I can't wait for an end to life under the Repugs.

    August 7, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  22. informed florida voter

    Guys like him are all talk. Satan has legions of deamons protecting his protegy.

    August 7, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  23. Ken Pittsburgh

    Obama please be careful out there the so called real red blooded
    AMERICANS will be coming out of the wood work

    August 7, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. PUMA in Training

    I'm not an Obama fan but I would never wish him harm and am worried about those fantics out there.

    Yes, Secret Service – keep them safe.

    August 7, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  25. Lorenzo

    Yet another REDNECK with a big mouth when he has a gun in his hands. Guess since he won't have that gun anymore he'll grab a bat when he becomes a Dog The Bounty Hunter wannabe!

    August 7, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
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