Homeless man claims threat to kill Obama was desperate bid for medical care
It wasn't the first time Espalin used that extreme tactic to get medical attention. He previously served 18 months in federal prison for threatening to kill former President George W. Bush in 2001, according to court records. Espalin uses a wheelchair and received chemotherapy treatment in federal custody while awaiting sentencing. He is expected to undergo heart surgery while he is locked up, according to documents filed by his lawyer, Assistant Federal Public Defender Robin Rosen-Evans. Rosen-Evans said it is clearly apparent that he personally had no intent and no ability to carry out a threat against the president. Rosen-Evans said hospital officials had called police so Espalin reverted to what worked in the past and made a hollow threat so he would be taken into federal custody.
Espalin had told Boca Raton police and U.S. Secret Service agents he had sent a heat-activated bomb to the president at the White House, but there was no evidence any such explosive device was sent, authorities said. The judge