Two white skinheads charged with plotting to kill Obama
TWO WHITE skinheads have been charged in Tennessee with conspiring to kill Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.
They have also been charged with plotting to shoot and decapitate 102 black adults and children in a school in the state.
The men, Daniel Cowart (20) from Tennessee, and Paul Schlesselman (18) from Arkansas, were charged with possession of a shotgun, conspiracy to rob a gun shop and making threats against Senator Obama.
“The allegations were serious and will be treated as such,” said Lawrence J Laurenzi, acting US attorney for the western district of Tennessee, shortly after the two men appeared in court. The two accused, who claim to support “white power” organisations, met via the internet one month ago and began quickly discussing plans to go “on a killing spree”, the attorney general’s office in western Tennessee said last night.
On October 20th, Mr Cowart travelled to Arkansas to pick up Mr Schlesselman, where they allegedly began discussing plans to kill African-American adults and children at a school, before culminating in an assassination attempt upon the Democratic candidate.
The two, along with a woman, attempted to rob a gun shop owner’s home in the early hours of last Wednesday, but abandoned the attmept when they saw a dog outside. They then returned to the nearest town and allegedly bought nylon rope and ski masks, before being arrested the following day by police officers, who quickly contacted federal authorities.
Court documents produced last night allege that the two men had threatened to shoot 88 people and decapitate 14 more, using numbers that have significance for white supremacists.
The number 88 refers to a statement by Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf, which calls on Aryans to fight to protect the purity of their blood; while 14 represents a statement from US white supremacist David Lane.
Three armed men were arrested in Denver in August by police, though detectives then said that they had had little, if any chance, of mounting an assassination attempt upon the Illinois senator at the party’s convention.
A Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives official said police found Mr Cowart and Mr Schlesselman with a number of guns, including a sawn-off shotgun.
“They wanted to go to a place where they could shoot as many non-Caucasians as they could. They said that would be their last, final act – that they would attempt to kill Senator Obama,” said the official, Jim Cavanaugh.
The men were ordered by a judge to be held without bail, and to appear before a federal court in Memphis on Friday morning.