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$500,000 Bail Set in Hostage Incident

The man accused of holding Hillary Clinton campaign workers hostage was ordered held on $500,000 cash bail, after prosecutors depicted him as a hardened criminal with two rape convictions on his rap sheet.

Leeland Eisenberg, 46, was charged with six felony counts and will undergo a psychiatric evaluation after allegedly taking six hostages, including an infant and mother, at a storefront campaign office for Clinton in Rochester, N.H. The Friday incident froze the entire Democratic campaign for hours, forcing Clinton and other candidates to evacuate offices and take additional security steps both in New Hampshire and elsewhere.

Eisenberg told the campaign workers that he had a bomb strapped to his chest, but authorities said the device had been built with road flares.

"I think it's very, very important, to keep this man under lock and key for now until we get to the bottom of his mental health problems," Rochester District Court Judge Daniel Capiello said, according to the Associated Press.

Prosecutor Janice Rundles asked Cappiello to set the high bail, noting that Eisenberg was sentenced to 10 years for rape in Worcester, Mass., in 1985, but apparently escaped the next year and committed another rape, which resulted in an 11- to 20-year sentence, according to the AP.

Massachusetts officials said Friday that Eisenberg was released from prison in March 2005, but state law prevented them from releasing further details.

Public defender Randy Hawkes portrayed Eisenberg as a deeply troubled man who, he said, "heard voices and saw a movie in his head telling him he had to sacrifice himself" to shine light on the flaws in the health care system.

"He asked me to extend his profound apologies," Hawkes added, according to the AP. Cappiello also ordered Eisenberg to undergo a psychological evaluation. Eisenberg appeared by live video link from the local jail, but did not address the court.

-- Shailagh Murray

By Post Editor  |  December 3, 2007; 6:23 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Hillary Rodham Clinton  
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This man is another victim of our deplorable health system for the mentally ill, or shall I say, the lack of a comprehensive health system for the severely mentally ill.

In the meantime, the war in Iraq is creating more and more mentally ill who will also be untreated and left to either destroy themselves or all around them.

Will Mrs. Clinton ask for compassionate treatment of this man? Will she follow up to see that he gets the care and treatment he so greatly needs?

Posted by: readlife | December 3, 2007 8:13 PM | Report abuse

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