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Guilty Plea in White Supremacist Plot to Assassinate Barack Obama

Daniel Cowart (AP)

JACKSON, Tenn. (CBS/AP) On Monday, 21-year-old white supremacist, Daniel Cowart of Tennessee, pleaded guilty to charges that he plotted to assassinate then-presidential nominee, Barack Obama.

Cowart admitted that he and 19-year-old Paul Schlesselman of Arkansas had planned a cross-country murder spree that targeted 102 African-Americans and was to culminate with the death of Barack Obama.

In addition to the conspiracy charges, Cowart also faces a multitude of federal infractions including various gun violations, damage to church property, and threats to take the life of a presidential nominee.

Although the plot was never close to being carried out, Cowart and Schlesselman, who met on the Internet, had created a very detailed plan outlining their attack on Barack Obama and their other African-American targets. Cowart took photographs and obtained floor plans of a local firearms store which they intended to rob for additional weapons and supplies. Schlesselman had reached out to friends located in numerous states asking for safe harbor while the men carried out their massacre.

In October 2008, authorities found the pair of skinheads and their conspicuous getaway vehicle, which had "Honk if you love Hitler" written on the hood, at the West Tennessee home of Cowart's grandparents which was where the two men resided.  They also purchased ski masks and nylon rope to be used during the robberies.

Paul Schlesselman entered his guilty plea in January and is currently awaiting sentencing. Daniel Cowart and his lawyer have arranged a plea deal with the prosecutor that recommends Cowart serve a 12 to 18 year prison term; however, U.S. District Judge J. Daniel Breen can challenge and change the sentence if he feels the punishment does not match the severity of the crime.

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