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. Lyndsey

    Obama has and will be in my prayers because of fools like this. The hate in this world astounds me at times and if (and hopefully when) Obama is president I pray he will be kept safe. He is a brave man with a beautiful family and I admire the risk he is taking to better our country. I have faith that there is more good than evil in this world and I also have faith in Obama and what he could do for this country!!

    August 7, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  2. Dan

    Let this guy rot in jail. Nothing funny at all about this.

    August 7, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  3. Mike Maddox


    "Good Lord, the guy was joking!

    People all over these blogs say worse (far worse) about Bush on a daily, if not hourly basis!!

    You Obamaphiles take yourselves too seriously!!"

    I'm sure that if your life were threatened, you'd take it as a joke as well, yes?

    August 7, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  4. Sayme

    There are many out there like this maniac . Hope they will be lucky enough to catch more like this psycho. I hope and pray for Obama's safety, because I do want to see a change for this country.

    August 7, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  5. Esther

    I am praying for you Obamas!

    August 7, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  6. Carl from MI

    I'd rather take chances on jerks like this guy threatening to kill Obama, then vote for Senior Citizen McCain and watch him die of old age in the Oval Office.

    Obama will make a great POTUS... McCain will make a great napper.

    Remember, McCain doesn't work weekends because he's a senior citizen. So if McCain wins... who's gonna run the country on the weekends? Maybe Dubya or Cheney will volunteer???

    August 7, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  7. Old American

    There is no difference between Pakistan and United States, if this country cannot protect a Presidential candidate. In pakistan, the presidential candidate was killed in a bomb attack, we call them the so called "Third world countries", but looks like America is no different than Pakistan... America is in the verge of becoming a Third World Nation

    August 7, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  8. Nina

    Independent – The country will come together without me. Obama will never be MY president, any more than Bush has ever been. This life long Dem is now an independent.... and very much undecided if I will vote at all this year for the presidential race. I will vote my state races.
    I have been paying so little attention since Hillary suspended her candidacy, that I didn't even know what a PUMA was until I just looked it up. I'm not a PUMA.
    I'm a bleeding heart liberal feminist. Therefore, I'm simply not voting for any man for president ever again. They just don't have a clue, and I won't perpetuate male domination of our country any longer. This world hasn't a chance in he&& of being peaceful with the men in charge.

    August 7, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  9. Stephany Fuentes

    True...If McCain wins we will relive Regan Era all over again....I mean I know Regan is popular for many things but what not a lot of people know is that he introduced cocaine during the Crack Cocaine Era....One of his military leaders ( I forgot his name) was funding a private war in Nicaragua to over throw the government. The funny thing is that the Nicaraguan guy that was allowed to come sell guns and cocaine to the ghettos was given full citizenship not only to him but his entire family......
    McCain may not agree with all this but he does support many Bush policies that we have seen just don't work....

    I think Obama with his mistakes and all is a fresh new start for this country....and don't be so surprise that Obama is getting guys do know that he is the only candidate for President that has had secret service from the time he said he was running....Only people like Hilary has that.....THink about it.

    August 7, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  10. Nom Deplume

    When I was in DC, a friend of mine said the same thing about Bush, how he could get him with a sniper rifle from our balcony overlooking the WH. I doubt you libs would call for him to be locked up, would you?

    August 7, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  11. chuck

    No excuse for this.... Obama should be able to run for president or any other office without fearing for his life. There is just too much of this going on in our country.

    August 7, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  12. True

    People in America get shot everyday. Every year, more people die of gunshots here in the US than they do in Iraq.

    August 7, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  13. Anne E.

    I fail to see the "humor."

    August 7, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  14. Renaldo from Canada

    One word "Disappointed".

    August 7, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  15. Marc PDX

    Stop with the conspiracy theories already. This guy has a history of psychiatric problems and has expressed a desire to kill both Obama and Bush. His problem transcends the political boundary between the two parties.

    August 7, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  16. Alim

    I hope this will never happen again in the United States of America. Obama is the only hope of rescue we now have from the backwardness we have faced. Please lord continue to protect him from the evel doers.

    August 7, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  17. Closely Watching

    As a long time Obama supporter I would like to take a moment to thank all you who have expressed their concern for his safety even though you support Senator(s) McCain and (Clinton). That is a very mature and Christian thing for you to do and I for one appreciate your ability to put down your swords and take up the pen for a moment. Thank You!

    August 7, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  18. jeanette

    I'm sure John McCain will have a snarky, outrageous, slimy, political ad out concerning this bit of news.

    August 7, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  19. colene

    this is so sad and sometimes i am so ashame of some of the people in this country.

    August 7, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  20. Lou Dobbs’s Independent

    Why this news difference from situation room CNN online support Obama

    August 7, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  21. Gobama

    Independent August 7th, 2008 6:45 pm

    Intelligent and excellent, vision, observation and conclusion.

    August 7, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  22. matthew

    Why Doesn't anyone think that Bill Clinton will be the Vice-presidential candidate???

    August 7, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  23. Oh Boy!!??

    To be sure, my comments do not stem from any one religious tone.

    The hypocracy of live and let live, turn the other cheek, don't judge lest ye be judged, cast not the first stone.

    All forgotten by a hateful mind,damaged from birth, and damaged by our beloved organized religions.

    Live your lives and speak your minds. Do not spout false beliefs as truth to back one's ignorance. Do not spout learned hatred for humor. Go beyond this...better yet, just go.

    August 7, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  24. Liam

    What a total idiot. What a great American! "God bless America... as long as it goes my way... If it doesn't then I'll kill someone". What a stupid, puss-brained bag of crap. This moron needs to see an entire team of therapists for years on end. I think that there might be a place in the Bush administration for a dolt like that.

    August 7, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  25. Pat

    As much as I don't care for the politics of the PUMAS or Republicans, I must say I really don't think they would go this far and I'm basing this on quite a few cooments on this blog wishing both of the candidates Godspeed. I think this is just one desperate soul out in the wilderness who hasn't come to grips with how the world is changing (and will continue to change). God bless and keep us all.

    August 7, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
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