Man Needing Health Care Threatens to Kill Obama

Stephen Espalin: I had 'no intent' to hurt him
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2013 4:58 PM CST
President Barack Obama speaks during the last news conference of his first term in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 14, 2013.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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(Newser) – A homeless Florida man says he only threatened to kill President Obama and his family in order to get better health care, the Sun-Sentinel reports. Stephen Espalin, 57, told a judge in West Palm Beach yesterday that he made the threat because he had chest pains and had been kicked out of a Boca Raton hospital for lying about having health insurance. "I would have no intent to hurt the president," said Espalin. "I realize it wasn't the right thing to do."

He had done it before, too, serving 18 months for saying he would murder former President George W Bush in 2001. Espalin made his latest threat during a cold spell in December of 2010. His public defender said he clearly "had no ability to carry out a threat against the president," but the prosecutor noted Espalin's criminal history as a convicted sex offender. The judge gave Espalin a sentence of four years, three months in federal prison, the greatest punishment possible—and said he required a prison with special medical care. (Read more health care stories.)

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