MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Two Mid-South men have been charged with making threats against presidential candidate Barack Obama.
Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tennessee and Paul Schlesselman, 18, of West Helena, Arkansas, were charged in a federal complaint last Friday of illegal possession of a sawed-off shotgun, conspiracy to rob a federal firearms licensee, and making threats against a major candidate for the Office of President.
According to the complaint, Cowart and Schlesselman met via the internet through a mutual friend last month, with both men claiming to have very strong beliefs regarding "White Power" and "Skinhead" philosophies.
The complaint said the pair discussed robbing a gun shop in order to gather weapons and ammunition to use in a 'killing spree.'
On October 20, 2008, Cowart allegedly traveled from Tennessee to Arkansas to pick up Schlesselman in order to carry out their plan.
According to the complaint, the defendants further discussed their killing spree to include targeting a predominately African American school, and to continue their spree until their final act of violence, which would be to attempt to assassinate Obama.
Jim Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the Nashville field office for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the two men planned to shoot 88 black people and decapitate another 14. The numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in the white supremacist community.
Officials said Cowart and Schlesselman stated that they would be willing to die during their attempt.
The pair was arrested on October 22, 2008 by the Crockett County, Tennessee Sheriff's Department.
Cowart and Schlesselman appeared in court Monday, and are scheduled to appear again at a detention hearing on October 30th.
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