Man who said he planned to kill Obama held on murder charge

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 06, 2011 9:09 PM
Man who said he planned to kill Obama held on murder charge

By Brendan O'Brien

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - A 41-year-old man who told investigators he planned to eventually assassinate President Barack Obama awaited possible extradition to South Dakota on Wednesday on charges including murder linked to the plot, prosecutors said.

James Vernon McVay told authorities after he was arrested near Madison that the killing of a 75-year-old woman was the first of several he intended to commit as he traveled to Washington, D.C., where he planned to use a rifle to kill Obama, according to a South Dakota criminal complaint.

"I'm going to kill and kill until I get him," McVay told investigators, referring to the president.

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said that in 2009, while in jail in Nebraska, McVay had also made threatening statements toward protectees of the Secret Service.

"During interviews with him, he later recanted the statements that were brought to our attention," Donovan said. "Our Madison office is currently conferring with the U.S. Attorney's office in Wisconsin on the direction of the case."

After slashing the throat of Maybelle Schein with a camping knife as she slept in her home in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, McVay drove her white Buick to Madison, where he planned to "ambush and kill a police officer and take their guns," the criminal complaint said.

McVay told authorities he intended to travel on to Chicago or Indianapolis where he would kill again and steal another vehicle to drive to Washington.

South Dakota U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson said on Wednesday he was aware of the case but could not discuss the investigation or confirm whether federal charges were pending.

McVay told authorities he began developing his plan to kill the president two years ago while in a South Dakota prison.

On June 30, hours after being released from a community transition program, McVay walked to a Wal-Mart, where he stole clothing and knives. McVay, who is on parole, told authorities he slept under a bridge until dawn the next day.

McVay selected Schein's house to break into and commit the crime because he saw a garage door slightly ajar and a vehicle in the garage, the complaint said, adding that he "was going to kill people whenever the opportunity arose".

"He stated that he needed to 'get blood on (his) hands' and to 'get experience' killing people'," it added.

Police tracked the vehicle, and McVay was apprehended after a chase and brief standoff, the complaint said.

South Dakota State's Attorney Aaron McGowan said he was working with the Dane County district attorney's office to coordinate transporting McVay back to South Dakota.

"What we do here depends on what (McVay) does there," McGowan said, adding that if he waived extradition he could be back in South Dakota within days.

If McVay refuses, the process could take several weeks, McGowan said.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston)