JACKSON, Tenn. (AP)—A White supremacist has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for conspiring to kill then-presidential candidate Barack Obama and dozens of other Black people.
U.S. District Judge J. Daniel Breen April 22 sentenced 19-year-old Paul Schlesselman of Helena-West Helena, Ark. He had pleaded guilty in January.
Twenty-one-year-old co-defendant, Daniel Cowart of Bells, Tenn., also pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.
Authorities have described the pair as White supremacist skinheads who hatched a plan to go on a cross-country robbery and killing spree that would end with an attack on Obama in 2008.
Their plan was to kill 88 African-Americans and behead 14 others before trying to take out Obama, a U.S. senator at the time. The numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in the White supremacist movement.
Investigators have said both men believed they’d die while trying to get to the presidential candidate, but they plotted to fire on him from a speeding car while wearing white tuxedos and top hats.
Authorities said the two never got close to carrying out their plans, but had enough firepower to create carnage.
The court hearing for Cowart in March outlined how the pair was going to proceed with their plot. Cowart sent photographs and floor plans of a gun shop in the Jackson area that they planned to rob to get weapons for the spree.
Schlesselman contacted a friend in Texas who would harbor them and tried to reach somebody else in California who would give the pair shelter as they traveled state to state killing people. They also bought ski masks to use during robberies, along with nylon rope.
The pair were arrested in October 2008 at Cowart’s grandparents’ home in rural West Tennessee, where they had both been living. Authorities seized a sawed-off shotgun, a high-powered rifle, a handgun and several swords and knives.
Cowart’s car was emblazoned with a large swastika and the numbers 14 and 88 on the hood. It also said “Honk if you love Hitler.”