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Federal grand jury indicts Alexandria man on new charges for Jan. 2020 explosion

Trial for Daniel Aikens continued until July 18, 2022
Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 1:10 PM CST
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - An Alexandria man, accused of setting off an explosive outside of PayDay Today on MacArthur Drive in Alexandria in January 2020, is facing new charges. The charges come just a week before his federal trial was set to begin on a prior charge.

The trial for Daniel Aikens, 39, was supposed to start next Monday. It has now been delayed eight months until July 18, 2022, after the government filed a superseding indictment last week.

According to investigators and information provided in the indictment, Aikens is accused of demanding $10,000 from PayDay Today, later exploding a device in a trash can nearby. The explosion set off a manhunt. Aikens was arrested a few days later during a traffic stop by the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Aikens was initially indicted by a federal grand jury on a charge of “making threats by mail or telephone.” He was set to go to trial in the U.S. District Court for the Western District in Alexandria next Monday. But, last Friday the trial was delayed after the government indicated it had a new grand jury indictment.

Now, Aikens is facing 10 counts.

Four of the counts are for “making a destructive device.” He also has four counts of “possession of a destructive device in violation of the National Firearms Act.” In addition to those eight counts, Aikens is also charged with a single count each of “use of an explosive to commit a federal felony” and “conveying malicious false information.”

The counts range in date according to the alleged offense. Some of them are tied to Sept. 12, 2019. Others are tied to Dec. 20, 2019, the date we later learned an explosion was reported at the Texaco on Jackson Street. Investigators were spotted at the Texaco searching for evidence after the PayDay Today explosion.

The remaining counts are tied to the day of the PayDay Today explosion on Jan. 2, 2020.

Aikens will need to be arraigned again. A date isn’t set for that yet.

An unrelated case, in which Aikens is facing a charge in August 2020 for second-degree murder for the Dec. 31, 2017, death of 29-year-old Keelien Lewis of Dry Prong, is pending. In that case, Grant Parish investigators said Lewis died of asphyxiation by carbon monoxide poisoning. That case is on hold until prosecution in the federal case is complete.

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