Maine resident arrested in Florida for death threats to Bush, Obama

Friday, August 8, 2008

Barack Obama in Kuwait in 2008.
Image: Jarod Perkioniemi.

On Thursday, a man was charged with threatening to assassinate United States (U.S.) Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

The suspect, Raymond Hunter Geisel, was arrested on Saturday by the U.S. Secret Service in Miami, Florida. Geisel, 22 years old, was found to have in his possession weapons as well as military type gear. He is being held without bail in Miami's downtown detention center.

Geisel was attending a bail bondsman training course when he, according to a Secret Service affidavit, stated "that nigger, if he gets elected, I'll assassinate him myself" to class-mates.

One witness said he additionally threatened current President George W. Bush by stating that "he hated Bush and wanted to put a bullet through his head." In a written statement, Geisel denied making either of the threats, and according to the reports he never took any action to carry out his assassination threats.

Geisel, a native of Bangor, Maine, reportedly had in his 1998 Ford Explorer — as well as in the hotel room at which he was staying — body armor, a 9mm pistol, dozens of ammunition rounds including armor piercing bullets, military-like fatigues, a machete, as well as knives. His SUV was equipped with red and yellow emergency lights.

US Secret Service star logo

In a interview with the Secret Service, Geisel stated that "if he wanted to kill Senator Obama he simply would shoot him with a sniper rifle, but then he claimed that he was just joking," according to reports. Geisel claims that he suffered physical as well as emotional abuse earlier in life, and that he had admitted himself to a mental clinic for treatment of post traumatic stress disorder.

Geisel is being prosecuted exclusively for the threat against candidate Barack Obama, and not for the threat against President Bush. Ed Donovan, a Secret Service spokesman refused to comment on the number of threats to political candidate and government officials, but did go as far as to say that this "might be the first arrest" in regards to this political election.