Saratoga County

Mother: Suspect in Obama threat needs help

The mother of the former Clifton Park man who allegedly told a bank teller that he intended to kill

The mother of the former Clifton Park man who allegedly told a bank teller that he intended to kill President Barack Obama said her son needs treatment for his mental illness, not jail time.

Barbara Murray criticized a mental health system that she said keeps people like her son, Daniel James Murray, from getting real help until they commit a crime or try to hurt themselves.

Now Daniel Murray, 36, is charged with a federal crime: making threats against the president of the United States.

Murray was arrested Friday without incident outside a casino in Laughlin, Nev., a gambling town 100 miles from Las Vegas on the Nevada-Arizona line, The Associated Press reported.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Bearnson said Murray was in federal custody in Nevada and likely will get a court date there Monday. Neither Bearnson nor the Secret Service would discuss whether Murray was considered to be a serious threat.

Barbara Murray said on Saturday that she and her husband have not spoken to their son since his arrest.

She said Daniel Murray no longer owns guns.

Before his life became a nightmare of psychosis in his mid-20s, his mother said, he drove an armored vehicle picking up expensive artworks and transporting them.

“He had millions of dollars in his truck,” she said.

In his job, he was required to have a permit to carry firearms, and he bought some guns. But he gave them up when he became ill about 10 years ago, Barbara Murray said.

The U.S. Secret Service said in an arrest affidavit that Daniel Murray had at least eight guns registered in his name, but his mother said authorities are looking at records that aren’t current.

revolving door

She described a cycle of her son checking into mental hospitals, refusing to take his medication, being discharged and not getting better.

“He gets there and he’s let go in a couple days,” his mother said.

Federal laws give mentally ill patients control over their treatment, but psychotic people sometimes refuse to take medication because they view it as part of a conspiracy against them. Murray’s doctors are not permitted to talk to his parents about his treatment because he is an adult.

The Secret Service’s arrest affidavit filed Thursday said Murray aroused the suspicion of employees at a bank in St. George, Utah, when he opened a savings account with $85,000 on May 19 and made a statement about people rising up and killing others because of banks going under in the economic recession.

On May 27, he allegedly returned and withdrew $12,698 from his account, demanded small bills in non-sequential order and delivered a rambling statement while the teller counted the cash:

“We are 94 million miles from the sun, and are in between the sun and moon, and the eagle that flies between them, and it’s a giant step for mankind. … I have traveled thousands of miles to be here and know things that are going to happen … the banking system will fail and people will die. … There will be chaos in the world,” he said, according to the affidavit filed in U.S. District Court on Thursday.

When the teller handed him the money, Murray allegedly said, “We are on a mission to kill the president of the United States,” according to the affidavit. He withdrew the rest of the $72,000 from the account the next day.

doubts intent

Barbara Murray said her son most likely did not intend to harm Obama.

“He’s a very good man,” she said of her son. “He’s sick now. He’s not himself.”

The family is from California and moved here eight years ago.

Shortly after they moved, Murray had his first brush with the law in Clifton Park. In 2002, he threatened to blow up a Hannaford supermarket. Murray was released after two years of a three-year supervised probation sentence, during which he also got mental health treatment.

Murray was 29 when he was charged with falsely reporting an incident after he activated his car’s OnStar emergency system and told operators he had explosives and a gun in his car and planned to blow up the supermarket and then kill himself. In reality, he was unarmed.

In February of this year, he was charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief for damaging the inside of his mother’s car and was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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