Alexandria man arraigned on new charges for Jan. 2020 explosion outside loan office
Trial for Daniel Aikens set for Nov. 14 in Alexandria federal courthouse
ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - An Alexandria man who was arrested after a Jan. 2, 2020 explosion outside of PayDay Today on MacArthur Drive has pleaded “not guilty” to a series of charges in a second superseding indictment.
Daniel Aikens, 40, entered his plea to the newest indictment via video conference on Thursday, Oct. 6. He now faces three counts of making a destructive device, three counts of possession of a destructive device in violation of the National Firearms Act, one count of using an explosive to commit a federal felony and one count of conveying malicious false information.
This indictment replaces his last one in Nov. 2021.
According to federal investigators, Aikens is accused of demanding $10,000 from the loan company, later exploding a device in a trashcan nearby. He was arrested when his white Jeep Cherokee was spotted by the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office. Investigators had developed Aikens as a suspect by tracing the phone number he called from to a burner phone he purchased the previous month from a Dollar General.
He remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals pending trial, which is scheduled for Nov. 14.
Aikens is represented by federal public defenders Natalie Awad and Wayne Blanchard. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jamilla Bynog, Daniel McCoy, and LaDonte Murphy are prosecuting for the government.
In a separate matter, Aikens is also a suspect in the 2017 death of Keelien Lewis, 29 of Dry Prong, who worked for a lawn care business that Aikens operated. According to Grant Parish Sheriff Steven McCain, the federal arrest of Aikens allowed them to move forward in obtaining a warrant for second-degree murder for Lewis’ death.
According to the Grant Parish Sheriff’s Office, Lewis died of asphyxiation by carbon monoxide poisoning. Lewis worked for Aikens for about three weeks. Investigators said Aikens took out a $250,000 insurance policy on Lewis and that was the motive.
That case has been put on pause since the federal case is moving forward first.
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