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. unknown

    you play with fire you get burned
    give the man a medal

    August 7, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  2. J B

    To Cathy.......he is nowhere near the best candidate for the job. Now, if Colin Powell ever decides to run, then I could very well vote for him. He knows more and is a much better man and actually has some experience to go with it all!

    August 7, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  3. Darth Odie

    Well if you read the affidavit and the original AP story he also threatened president Bush. But ya'll didn't seem to notice that.

    Wait a minute sherry for Obama did. Good catch. At least there is one objective obamamessiah supporter left.

    August 7, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  4. Javone

    Some of you people have to be out of your minds. "why can't they take a joke?" Let someone joke about killing aomeone in your famiky like one of your kids and see how hard you laugh. Idiot!

    August 7, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  5. Ottawabenotproud

    Yes report everything!!
    Every threat, every comment is real
    Report on your friends, family, coworkers....
    CNN carried this story they are in on it!!

    That'll do sheep, that'll do

    August 7, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  6. Henry Landis

    Any scum who would make such a threat, and calls it a joke should do his time in solitary, listening to a recording of himself. He can then laugh away his time while the rest of the world breathes a sigh of relief.

    August 7, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  7. Roy

    It is not all that far-fetched to believe redneck Americans like this or other neocon bullies who can not accept a man of color as President will try to kill Obama. Look what happened to Robert Kennedy, who, although not Black, was Catholic, liberal and hated by the Republicans and the mafia.

    August 7, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  8. Hollowpoint

    While he wasn't arrested for it, the racist nutjob also said that he'd like to put a bullet in Bush's head... yet CNN doesn't feel that was relevent enough to include on their blog story? The extra two sentences would've taken up too many bytes?

    Or was it that CNN wanted to portray the nutjob in question as a "typical" right wing racist who wanted to kill Obama? Letting your partisan mask slip a bit are you, CNN?

    Given the nature of this election, don't even try to make the excuse that it wasn't relevant, or that the story as presented doesn't create a false impression of the man arrested.

    August 7, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  9. Terminator

    Lock him up and throw away, we don't people like him voting for any candidate. Everyman has a right, if he can't handle himself like a human being, then he doesn't have the intelligence to vote. HOW SAD. Pathetic!!!!

    August 7, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  10. Independent

    America is at a serious cross road in history.

    If McCain wins, the country will continue its march to hell. Race relations will get worse, economy will get worse, China and India will emerge as superpowers with more money and influence.

    If Obama wins, the country will come together as one. People will get excited about the future, other countries will begin to respect America again, America's respect in the world restored, race relations in the country will impove, new energy jobs will be created, American schools will start competing with China and India.

    August 7, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  11. donarandona

    Can you say...
    Teteprompter to the right.....Teleprompter to the left...
    Ever notice that?

    August 7, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  12. Thanh

    The reality is that there are white supremacists out there, so to make a "joke" like that is crazy. They're definitely going to beef up security.

    Joking about how Hillary is connected with this guy is really off base, and those who say such things should be ashamed to be Americans.

    August 7, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  13. oscar

    Why didn't CNN state that President Bush was threatened also? Everywhere else, they mention in their headlines that Bush and Obama were both threatened.

    August 7, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  14. Patrick

    Its so sad our Country is 50 years behind Europe socially. They've figured out that "wedge" issues don't make a country better. Great schools, great transportation, forward thinking do. This country is in a sad sad state.

    August 7, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  15. Ed from Richardson, TX

    My wife has been saying that "they" would not allow Barack to be PUTUS; her opinion is some radical skinhead type(s) would do him harm either before or immediately after the election. I kept telling her we have advanced past this stage in the USA and that it wouldn't happen; I pray for the Senator(s) and I pray for this nation...

    Go Obama!

    August 7, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  16. Mitch

    what a mullett

    August 7, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  17. Republicans hate America

    a republican no doubt. probably has books from Hanity, Limbaugh and O'riely tucked in his shelves.

    August 7, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  18. FL4Obama

    I continue my prayers for Obama & his supporters. I honor the courage & strength we extend to stand up for justice as Americans against this type of nonsense. Faith over fear. Obama '08

    August 7, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  19. Blessings

    O Lord, please protect both of our presidential candidates and their families!! God bless this troubled America!!
    Blessings from Pa.

    August 7, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  20. Patrick

    PUMA is a joke LOL My gal was so much more ready to lead from her years in the white house kitchen picking out dinner for the evening!

    August 7, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  21. Toto

    May the secret service need to question the recruters at the WOKV

    August 7, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  22. baxter brown

    lets lock up huckabee for his comments also about a similar subject.

    August 7, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  23. obama 4 08

    I dont think it was a joke thats why you cant trust everybody

    August 7, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  24. Ralph V. AZ

    This isn't a joke! I hope they through the book at that guy!

    August 7, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  25. Brian, Quad Cities

    Many Republicans have left their best wishes for Sen Obama, even though they would never support him.

    THIS is America – we'll duke it out on the issues, then shake hands and have a beer when it's over.

    August 7, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 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