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. Audrey

    We knew these 'crazy people were out there but for CNN to confirm it like this. My heart and prayers go out to Barack and his family. I just pray the Secret Service can really protect them.

    August 7, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  2. Kelly

    The guy also threatened bush but Bush as the sitting president gets second fiddle to the celebrity. The media has jumped the shark.

    August 7, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  3. cherrystrawberry

    MSNBC is reporting that the man had grenades, knives, armored vehicle and high powered rifle in his home.

    I think that is a lil different than Jesse Jackson saying he wanted to figuretively cut off Obamas bal*S. idiot

    August 7, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  4. Brett

    This is what Obama gets for projecting himself as the Messiah...Haha!

    August 7, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  5. BxGrrl

    "What are we coming to?"" Are you kidding? we've been one step from a banana republic for years.

    August 7, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  6. dennis from chicago

    nothing new... the united states is under terroist threat all the time you just don't know when will they learn......hatred is every attention to the'll probably see more distasteful behavior.....

    August 7, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  7. S. Callahan

    Scary. You see these type of comments are entertainment sites all the time.. It's sad. I agree with Michelle,PA..keep both candidates safe.

    August 7, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  8. jason

    obama will not get killed.

    August 7, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  9. Deborah

    what a fool!

    August 7, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. Watermann

    My respective comments regarding the safety of senator Obama did not survive your curious moderation

    August 7, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  11. ls

    What an IDIOT! What person in their right mind would make a stupid comment like that? This guy needs to be put away, joke or no joke, he was wrong to say something like that.

    August 7, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. Charlie

    Uh, the time to make a joke is not when the police are asking you questions....kind of like asking the cop who is getting ready to write you a ticket if you disturbed his donut eating session.....not a good idea.....

    August 7, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  13. Marine wife, Lejeune NC

    haha hes not even president yet and someone is already making threats.

    August 7, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  14. Gerry in Virginia

    NOTE TO MRS OBAMA.... Thank you Michelle for loaning this fine young man to this world so that he may lead us out of the horriable mess the republicans have left us in. You and your little ladies are wonderful.. We'll be proud to have your family as our first family.....

    August 7, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  15. AdamT

    Some things you should NEVER joke about. Lock this creep away, let him serve a few months behind bars and tell at the end of his sentence "oh, its just a joke"!!

    August 7, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  16. Elariia

    Remember the first words of Obama's prayer that was stolen from the Western Wall?

    "Lord, Protect my family and me."

    Now we know why he prayed that prayer.

    August 7, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  17. JP

    I didn't know Hillary still had staff.

    August 7, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  18. WikkedDave

    This sort of this should be taken very seriously, I would bet there are MANY who would consider trying should Obama get close to OR become the president. Sad how people would even think that was a solution....

    August 7, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  19. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    Would be nice if all wackos were behind bars–but that would not fit with our constitutional freedoms.

    We have the right to disagree with political agendas of candidates–even if it means the bloggers individually will drive you crazy–and the medical services don't provide psychotropics–well crap must fall where it falls. Is this poor sick person a victim of his own evil intent–or the absolute confusion of what is right and wrong–heralded by the greying of those lines–by the two major party candidates.

    it's a wonder most of us havn't gone nuts by now???

    August 7, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  20. Mrs.L

    To Anonymous although you present yourself as such CNN knows you through your email address.
    What kind of sick freak are you. Nothing about this is a joke!!! Its wierdos like you that give idiots like that the idea that they can go around spouting off at the mouth as they please.

    You need God and you need to know you will reap what you sow one day!!!!
    What is funny about what he said???

    August 7, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  21. Tim Garrett

    there is no place for stuff like this. and please, don't make it worse by blaming hillary or her supporters (i am one). We may dislike Obama and not think that he is ready to lead, but we do not wish him any harm. Nor does hillary

    August 7, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  22. paul oregon

    sounds like hillary has finally got someone to do do her dirty work

    August 7, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  23. vishizo


    August 7, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  24. Mike Bussard

    this is really a sad event. just when i thought my country was taking steps forward, it seems that idiots like Geisel make us take several more back.

    August 7, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  25. rachel

    Crazy folks

    August 7, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
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