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. James C. Owens

    Anyone who threatens the life of another, whether they are running for office or not, should be distinctly reprimanded and punished severely by the letter of the law. It’s what distinguishes us as a Civil Society. Threatening a life is no joking matter.

    August 7, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |

    Jessie Jackson'e ridiculous statements about our NEXT PRESIDENT, is in not a double standard in reference to someone threatening to kill Obama. Such a ridculous bigoted statement.

    August 7, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  3. Michele

    What a evil and sick society we live in. Stop with all the remarks about Hillary and who knows who else you can mention!!

    When did we become so vicious?????

    "God Bless" us as a Nation..Remember 911 ?? Where's all that love they neighbor ???

    August 7, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  4. Mary (Texas)

    First of all I do not want any physical harm to come to Obama!! Lock the guy that threaten to kill him up!!

    But for anyone to start pointing fingers at Hillary – give me a break!!! If Obama as much as twists an ankle – you would blame Hillary!! Leave Hillary alone!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 7, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  5. Erika, KS

    Yes. It's sad. Human beings are evil. I don't think God can protect anyone. I don't know how God could have made such flawed humans.

    Now, can you imagine how outraged lunatics like this guy would be with an Obama/Rice or Obama/Powel ticket? Too many red necks in this country. They will never elect two African Americans on a presidential ticket. He's already non-electability material. This should be a lesson for Obama. We'll see if he's actually paying attention to anything else but himself.

    August 7, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  6. DRS

    OMG, this brings back those horrific memories of June, 1968, when our beloved candidate, Robert F. Kennedy, was gunned down before he even got to the convention. Did anyone say "gun control"? I wish the govt. would get real and see that anyone can obtain a gun and change the course of history. Sad.

    August 7, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  7. Re:Nova from NV

    You say he's unelectable, which speaks volumes to the fact the he's beating your candidate. In any othere presidential election a 5% lead would be considered huge. The new outfits as well as the Repugs want to make this race out to be close, when it's not and the margins will grom when you put Obama on stage with McFather Time and he can't stop stuttering and misremembering things.

    August 7, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  8. Anita from Arizona

    They didn't find weapons in Jesse Jackson's car or hotel room. Come on people. Use that melon you call a brain.

    Thank goodness that nutcase was turned in. Good work people.

    August 7, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  9. Bob Calhoun

    I thought the guy in Florida also threatened to kill President Bush,

    why is this not important to cnn or the other news media???/

    August 7, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  10. Peter (CA)

    As an Obama supporter, I would never stoop to make a joke about this guy being on Hillary's payroll. I would like all of my fellow Obama supporters and Democrats to not even make such jokes.

    If you are looking to the root of this problem...look at where this stuff comes from. A violent society, complete disregard for human life, and a paranoid affliction for firearms. If you want to blame someone, blame the NRA.

    August 7, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  11. ne2kards

    For all you people comparing Jesse Jackson's statements to this nutjob, how about asking if Jackson had any armor piercing bullets or underwent psychiatric help for being emotionally or physically abused. Not to mention the tear gas, the body armor and any of the other items that would suggest he is a real threat. Come on and use your heads. While Jackson is an idiot and should be held accountable for his words (as they did with Imus), there is really no comparison.

    August 7, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  12. Ifzal (AZ)

    he must be a Good 'Ole boy i guess. there are way too many "republicans" like him down south. trust me, i lived there for 13 years. May God bless both candidates and keep them safe.

    August 7, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  13. Eddie D


    I couldn't have said it any better. God bless you

    August 7, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  14. David C

    I find it interesting CNN edited the AP story that reported this guy also threatened Bush. CNN...trusted source for your news?

    August 7, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  15. Chuck

    I'm surprised that this threat hasn't appeared yet in the news. There are too many crazies running loose in this country already. Just round them all up upon hearing any threats against this great candidate.

    August 7, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  16. A Woman In California For Obama

    I don't wish this on ANY person running for office. These people take a risk everyday of their lives just to make things better or to get their point of view across. It's no laughing matter. It's sad Americans are so violent.

    Thank you Secret Service. A job well done.

    August 7, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  17. Michele, Oregon

    You people who say he was "just" joking are "just" so "funny" like the Republican nominee. This man was found to have machetes, guns, ammunition and tear gas. So please don't tell us how humorless Obama supporters, and others of good will are. Yes, the man also threatened President Bush. Not "funny" at all!

    Obama '08!

    August 7, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  18. From Texas

    Why did he's trying to change his tone that only a joke?? He began to scare to death to go to jail. lmao childishhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    August 7, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  19. mox

    The Republican white trash is coming out of the woodwork.
    Brace yourself for more, I'm sure.

    Obama will win in November and hopefully people like this guy will figure out a way to do something more constructive with their free time – like get an education.
    I am so flabbergastingly bored with the uneducated right wing.
    Surely they have something more to offer society.

    August 7, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  20. Henry in Houston

    I guess thats what happens to you when you stay at a Holiday Inn Express.

    August 7, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  21. Angi's mom

    Until this country takes mental health treatment seriously, there will be more of this. Our young men and women are returning home from war with post tramatic distress and other brain disorders and practically being ignored by the government. Add the untreated mentally ill already living on our streets. Plus the easy availability of weapons. We should not be surprised if this country has more potential terrorists in our back yard than in the evil-doer country-of-the-month.

    August 7, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  22. Chanda-Cincinnati

    To the Why isn't Jesse locked up too commenters above:

    Joking about cuttin someone's manhood hood off, albeit in very poor taste, and making numerous threats and possessing a mini arsenal are two COMPLETELY different things!!!! If you can not grasp that...then may God expand your tiny minds.

    August 7, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  23. dion s.

    Father God, You are in charge and nothing can happen unless it's your perfect will. Unless you watch over the city the watchmen stand guard in vain. Thank you Father for being with this man thus far. AMEN

    August 7, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  24. Kirk

    Let me get this straight a man makes a threat on another mans life and goes to jail and people are saying he should be locked up for life.... What I'm failing to understand here is how you people can be so ignorant to believe this kind of thing doesn't happen on a daily basis to people all over the country. In all those instances when reported to police they usually suggest filing for a restraining order. Now I know some of you are going to say this is different because he is a candidate for president of the United States But seriously lets think about it. That in itself would show that there are lives worth more then others which according to our constitution is not true. Just remember all men are created equal, if that were the case why should an incident such as this be treated any different then any normal everyday person. We are all people and deserve to be treated and protected the same. I am by no means condoning this mans actions for what he did. But seriously how long are we going to take these double standards for people of power. Every human life is worth protecting and saving. Why should some of us get these protections while others are left to fend for themselves.

    August 7, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  25. Disgusted Citizen

    The dark side of America again emerges. It all began back in the primaries, often provoked and exploited, however indirectly, by the Clintons and the Clinton campaign.

    Of course she's not responsible for people thinking dark thoughts and taking dark actions. But in her position of influence, she made no effort to eliminate them.

    It is sick that the threat to Barack's life is very real now and in the future. It's even more disturbing to realize that Hillary will actually be thrilled if Barack gets out of her way, however it happens.

    August 7, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
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