Alex Constantine - October 27, 2008
By LARA JAKES JORDAN, AP
WASHINGTON (Oct. 27) - Two white supremacists allegedly plotted to go on a national killing spree, shooting and decapitating black people and ultimately targeting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, federal authorities said Monday.
In all, the two men whom officials described as neo-Nazi skinheads planned to kill 88 people — 14 by beheading, according to documents unsealed in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Tenn. The numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in the white supremacist community.
Federal officials said Monday they had disrupted a plot by two neo-Nazi skinheads to assassinate Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. The two suspects also planned to shoot or decapitate 88 black people in a murder spree that was to start in Tennessee, authorities said.
The spree, which initially targeted an unidentified predominantly African-American school, was to end with the two men driving toward Obama, "shooting at him from the windows," the documents show.
"Both individuals stated they would dress in all-white tuxedos and wear top hats during the assassination attempt," the court complaint states. "Both individuals further stated they knew they would and were willing to die during this attempt."
An Obama spokeswoman traveling with the senator in Pennsylvania had no immediate comment.
Sheriffs' deputies in Crockett County, Tenn., arrested the two suspects — Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn., and Paul Schlesselman 18, of Helena-West Helena, Ark. — Oct. 22 on unspecified charges. "Once we arrested the defendants and suspected they had violated federal law, we immediately contacted federal authorities," said Crockett County Sheriff Troy Klyce.
The two were charged by federal authorities Monday with possessing an unregistered firearm, conspiring to steal firearms from a federally licensed gun dealer, and threatening a candidate for president.
Cowart and Schlesselman were being held without bond. Agents seized a rifle, a sawed-off shotgun and three pistols from the men when they were arrested. Authorities alleged the two men were preparing to break into a gun shop to steal more.