Man arrested in Mississippi over Internet assassination threats against Barack Obama

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

The United States Secret Service star logo.
Image: U.S. Government.

The U.S. Secret Service had a Wisconsin man arrested in Brookhaven, Mississippi, by the local Lincoln County sheriff's department on Friday for threatening to assassinate President-elect Barack Obama during his inauguration on January 20.

Steven Joseph Christopher, age 42, has reportedly made the threats on January 11, 15, and 16 in a chat forum on the site, a website about UFOs and aliens, the US Department of Justice said. He has created a new forum topic entitled, "ok we have 9 days until my Presidential Assasination[sic]." He referred to Obama as a 'sacrificial lamb.' "Yes, I have decided I will assassinate Barack Obama. It's really nothing personal about the man. He speaks well, has a loving although controlling wife and two cute daughters. But I know it's for the country's own good that I can do this. Barack Obama, I view more as a sacrificial lamb, but the sacrifice must take place," Christopher wrote on January 11.

Christopher previously posted possible threats against President George W. Bush, saying, "let's hope this time they don't hang up on, like last time when I threatened to kill gw and called them to tell." Christopher's online posts contained expletives and anti-Semitic views, according to an affidavit filed by Secret Service agent Kelly Adcox. The internet forum posts, however, stated he never owned nor fired a gun before, adding someone would have to deliver him one. Now he has alleged it was all a bluff to get publicity.

The John Minor Wisdom U.S. Courthouse, home of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Image: Bobak Ha'Eri.

As it turns out this man calls himself "Stevie the Playboy", "SHR," "Trinity" and in some cases "god". Christopher also spent time on the internet, using at least three different usernames to post about 70 different YouTube videos. The Alien-Earth Web site administrator notified a special agent with the U.S. Secret Service of the posted web messages.

The agents traced the Internet protocol address corresponding to a home on California Road in Brookhaven. According to John Dowdy, Chief of Criminal Division for the Office of the U.S. Attorney, and Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing, Christopher had spent several months at Lincoln County's Lena Lock in a female friend's house at 2033 California Road. He had also been shuttling back and forth to 1939 California Road — the residence of Lock's aunt, Etta Berry.

"Once we determined the IP address came back to user Lena Lock in Brookhaven, it kind of focused our investigation down into that area," Dowdy said. "We've been actively pursuing this since the afternoon of the 14th when we were put on notice," he added. "We got the call this (Friday) morning from the Secret Service to help go pick him up," Rushing who was accompanied by Secret Service agents Friday at 11:30 a.m. to arrest Christopher said. "We got him without incident," he added.

Dowdy said Christopher is charged with violating Title 18, United States Code, Section 871 — threatening to kill the President-Elect of the United States — which carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Christopher appeared Friday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. Sumner of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, located at the John Minor Wisdom U.S. Courthouse in New Orleans, Louisiana. The judge at the hearing asked Christopher if he suffered any mental illness or was prescribed any medication. "There is nothing wrong with my mind," Christopher replied.

Wearing a faded yellow shirt and shorts, Christopher had handcuffs bind his wrists and ankles when he was escorted from the John Minor Wisdom U.S. Courthouse in downtown Jackson on Friday afternoon after the hearing. "I'm trying to get people's attention, they were only bluffs. I'm trying to get everyone to listen to me because I have an important message from God," said Christopher. "Everyone needs to move to Florida by December 31st, this is the end of the world as we know it," he further warned in a video posting. He is being held in the Madison County Jail until a bail hearing Thursday.

Paul Schlesselman self-portrait photo from his MySpace page
Image: Paul Schlesselman.

In court documents published on Friday, it came to light that federal agents discovered Christopher's driver's license internet photos from Illinois, Texas, and Wisconsin. In February 2008, he was indicted in Walworth County, Wisconsin with knowingly violating a domestic abuse order.

In August 2008, Obama was subject of another alleged assassination plot at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. The three men, Tharin Robert Gartrell, 28, Shawn Robert Adolf, 34, and Nathan Dwayne Johnson, 33, were arrested after Gartrell was stopped by Aurora police near East Hampden Avenue and Parker Road. On December 16, Johnson pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a weapon by a prohibited person. He faces 10 to 37 months in prison when he is sentenced in federal court on March 20, 2009. The others accused are awaiting trial.

In October 2008, the ATF, a US federal law enforcement agency, had two young men in the state of Tennessee arrested by the local Crockett County sheriff's department on unspecified charges. Court documents revealed that the men allegedly had discussed committing a school shooting at a predominately African-American school and beheading 14 of them.

Paul Schlesselman and Daniel Cowart were charged in an alleged plot to assassinate Senator Barack Obama, the 2008 Democratic Party presidential nominee. A grand jury indicted the accused on November 5 on federal charges of threatening to kill and inflict bodily harm upon a major presidential candidate, conspiracy, interstate unlawful transportation of an unregistered firearm, interstate transportation of a firearm with the intent to commit a felony, transporting a short-barrelled shotgun across state lines without a license and unlawful possession of a short-barrelled shotgun. Cowart was also charged with damaging religious property and use of a firearm during a crime of violence.

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Wikipedia Learn more about 2008 Barack Obama assassination scare in Denver and 2008 Barack Obama assassination scare in Tennessee on Wikipedia.