Daniel Cowart & Paul Schlesselman: Epic Assassination Plot Fail


lol wigger impression

Pretty offensive video by Paul Schlesselman from his MySpace account. Click if you wish. Click here if you don’t know the meaning of the word “wigger.”
By now everyone’s heard of Daniel Cowart, age 20, and his buddy Paul Schlesselman, age 18. Everyone has heard of the way they walked into stupid criminal infamy.
dcowart.jpgThe outlines of the story are scary as hell, at first. By the time we get to the tuxes, though, we’re well into something that feels like a Coen Brothers movie on acid.
Using the Affidavit of Complaint published by The Smoking Gun we get the story as told by ATF Special Agent Brian Weaks.
On October 23, Weaks went to the Sheriff’s Office in Crockett County, TN to help out with an investigation into some alleged Federal Firearms Violations. The suspects in custody were Daniel Cowart and Paul Schlesselman.
Weaks interviewed the young men and got their back-story.
They’d met on the Web about a month ago through “a mutual friend.” Cowart and Schlesselman considered themselves part of the “White Power” movement and had strong “Skinhead” views. Just like many young men eager to get to know a new pal, Cowart and Schlesselman began bonding over fantasies of killing 88 people and, specifically, “beheading 14 African Americans.”
In the White Power movement, 88 is a symbol for the words “Heil Hitler,” since “H” is the 8th letter of the alphabet. The number 14 has a similar significance.
Anyway, Aryan Adventure Boys Cowart and Schlesselman had a brilliant idea to fund their spree. They planned rob or burgle gun stores to compile a cache of weapons and ammo. Cowart, who lives in Bells, TN, went to the nearby city of Jackson (this is all in West TN, between Memphis and Nashville) where he photographed and diagrammed the layout of a store. He then sent the info to Paul Schlesselman “through webcam.”
shotty.jpgThe guys had firearms to start with, though. The affidavit mentions: Schlesselman’s sawed-off 12 gauge; a Ruger .357 handgun Schlesselman took from his Dad; Cowart’s .308 caliber rifle; a .22 handgun and a .25 caliber handgun. Cowart told Agent Weaks that he took the last two from his grandfather.
On October 20, Cowart picked up Schlesselman in West Helena, Arkansas and they headed back to Tennessee. Here’s what they were going to do, according to the Affidavit of Complaint:
“Cowart and Schlesselman further discussed the killing spree to include targeting a predominately [sic]African-American school, going state to state while robbing individuals and continuing to kill people. They further stated that their final act of violence would be to attempt to kill/assassinate Presidential Candidate Barack Obama. Cowart stated that they planned to use his FASI .308 caliber rifle and a high-powered rifle […] Schlesselman stated that they planned to drive their vehicle as fast as they could toward Obama shooting at him from the windows. Both individuals stated they would dress in all white tuxedos and wear top hats during the assassination attempt.”
Cowart and Schlesselman told the authorities that they were ready to die trying, too.
The boys began their prep by making a run at a home robbery in Tennessee. A couple of cars at the home and a dog was enough to make them change their minds. Cowart and Schlesselman weren’t completely undaunted yet, though — they purchased supplies at a Brownsville, TN Wal-Mart: food, rope, and ski masks were among the things they purchased.
After the Wal-Mart trip the intrepid duo shot out a window at the Beech Grove Church of Christ. Apparently this was badass enough for the guys for one evening, and they headed back to Cowart’s granddad’s place, where they slept the sleep of the just. Or the stupid, take your pick.
The next day more spree killing was discussed, and the boys decided to prime themselves by taking chalk to Cowart’s car, scribbling “a Swastika and the numbers 14 and 88 on the hood.” Other “racially motivated words and symbols” were drawn on the car. Because you know, when you want to start on a racially-motivated killing spree, it’s a great idea to let the world know who you are by chalking it on your car.
Cowart and Schlesselman face multiple charges, including “Threats against a Major Candidate for the Office of President.”
Just for the heck of it, you can take a look at one of Daniel Cowart’s personal profiles here (I’m certain I’m not the first to find this particular link):
His hobbies are “shooting, harrassing pedestrians, stuff,” and he is online to meet “new comrades” or just make friends “in general.” Cowart has two photos on the profile, one of them of him in a hooded sweatshirt, the other shows him shirtless, clearly revealing the iron cross tattoo on his chest.
Daniel Cowart also has a MySpace profile, but it is private.
Per CBS News, this is Paul Schlesselman’s MySpace profile:
Almost all you need to know about Schlesselman is encapsulated in a headline on his page: “Cookie Rapist is going to stab you with a railroad spike.”
jdoemsscre.jpgStill, Schlesselman’s MySpace leads to his Photobucket image hosting account, and that is a scary feast for the eyes, if you could stand looking long enough. If racial imagery and racial slurs are deeply offensive to you, don’t bother clicking through. To me, one of the more interesting images is the one you see on the left. The knife beside the severed head reads, “John Doe Massacre” — the name of a German “Melodic Death Metal/Deathcore/Groove Metal” band.
Paul Schlesselman at one time had a YouTube account at with this screen name: nog1488. The account has been suspended, but cached search engine pages of other YouTube users’ profiles revealed some of his thoughts on race (read: he was a classic YouTube troll, racist model). He wrote the following on a YouTuber’s profile page on April 30, 2008, apparently in response to a question about race — the following has been edited for obvious reasons:
“me? its not color its action that determines my disliking. All races including whites have done bad shit. There are a few distinct races that stick out as my most disliked among these are n***ers and jews. im refuse to go into the history of both fore its far to long and im not going to talk about it with someone who hates me lol”
Schlesselman also left comments for folks with whom he apparently felt a bit more kinship. YouTube user juggarnaut1486’s account has also been suspended, but juggarnaut1486 wrote the following in his own profile, “how ridiculous, you anti- racists would rather flag me then debate, and they say racists are ignorant!”
Schlesselman seemed to respond to that statement, posting the following comment on juggarnaut’s profile on May 1 of this year: “you know we are never going to do anything debating on youtube! they sit on there ass all day trying to make us mad. We should give em a good ass beating.”
Paul Schlesselman also had a DeviantArt.com account:


Schlesselman posted the photo seen below and on the right on September 18 this year, with the following comment: “me with my new .357 mag (ruger).”
pschlesselmanruger.jpgIt’s all too easy to laugh at the ineptitude of these young men, but one has only to reflect on fairly recent history to realize why the story of their plans has made any news at all, and why law enforcement takes threats like the ones Cowart and Schlesselman allegedly made pretty damned seriously.
See, one of the reasons so many find it so hard to believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman who shot President John F. Kennedy is precisely this — Oswald’s bio made him seem rather inept. Comically inept if viewed from a certain angle. He tried to be a soldier. He basically failed. Oswald tried to leave his US roots behind and become a Russian. The Soviets thought he was a loser, too. Oswald came back home and he continued to fail at life until that day in Dallas.
If you buy the single assassin theory of the Kennedy Assassination, you buy that on one November day in 1963, lifelong loser Lee Harvey Oswald succeeded at one, huge, awful and historic thing.
Sure, Daniel Cowart’s and Paul Schlesselman’s grisly plans also seemed ridiculous. The chances against them succeeding were probably too huge to even calculate. It’s probably okay, now that the feds have a hold on them, to laugh about the tuxedos and the chalked symbols on the car. But temper that a little, because once upon a time, Lee Harvey Oswald was a ridiculous loser, too. [TSG; see also this CBS look into the story, with a good deal more info about Schlesselman.]