ALEXANDRIA, The. (KALB) – Continuing with the coverage (day 4) of the trial of Daniel Aikens, the man arrested after an explosion on January 2, 2020 outside of PayDay Today on MacArthur Drive.
Part I – 15:15
A Louisiana State Police cell phone forensics expert, who did a data dump of an iPhone and Android phone belonging to attacker Daniel Aikens, found some questionable searches and downloads.
The two phones were seized after a January 2, 2020 pipe bomb explosion outside PayDay Today on MacArthur Drive in Alexandria; federal investigators tracked down Aikens as a suspect.
What is known as the “bomber’s phone” was never recovered, but state police were able to obtain information from the phone with the help of AT&T. The name of the person who bought that phone and their address were not recovered, only that it was bought at Dollar General, but which one was not specified.
JD Parker of the Louisiana State Police told jurors that on September 8, 2019, Aikens downloaded a bomb-making “cookbook” onto his Android. That same day, she downloaded a how-to guide to building a pressure cooker pump. That’s important because four days later he’s also charged with setting off a bomb with a pressure cooker in Monroe, outside Cloyd’s Beauty School.
“It’s a bomb-making cookbook,” Parker said. “It gives you different kinds of ways to make different devices.”
Aikens also ran some interesting searches that state police found on his Android, including a search for “Southern Heritage Bank” on December 20, 2019, and a search for “PayDay Today” on December 30, 2019. A pipe bomb went off in a field. between Texaco and Southern Heritage Bank on Jackson Street in Alexandria on December 20, 2019. Another pipe bomb exploded outside PayDay Today on January 2, 2020.
We also learned about some cell phone tracking data.
Parker said on December 20, 2019, at 10 a.m., an hour before the device exploded in the Jackson Street field, the “bomb threat phone” called Southern Heritage Bank. At 11:05 am, the “bomb threat phone” made a call to 911 to report the explosion. GPS data placed Aikens’ iPhone in the same area at the same time.
State Police also tracked a series of movements Aikens’ iPhone made the day before, on December 19, 2019, beginning with stops in Lafayette at Home Depot, Academy and Hobby Lobby. Federal investigators believe Aikens was purchasing bomb-making materials. That iPhone ends up in the Dollar General area on Horseshoe Drive that night, where investigators believe Aikens purchased the disposable “bomb threat phone.”
The data shows Aikens driving back to his home on Tennessee Avenue, and that same night in the same neighborhood, the “bomb threat phone” goes off for the first time.
On the day of the homemade bomb explosion outside of PayDay Today on January 2, 2020, the office was called by the “bomb threat phone” at 9:45 a.m. The phone was in contact with the victim until shortly before 10 am when it got completely dark. which means power off or sim card removed.
Part II – 4:30 p.m.
A former acquaintance of Daniel Aikens told a federal jury that he was with Aikens in Monroe two weeks before a bomb went off outside Cloyd’s Beauty School on September 12, 2019, and saw Aikens put a pressure cooker on the woods outside a Piggly Wiggly.
Aikens has pleaded “not guilty” to a series of federal charges related to an explosion outside an Alexandria loan company and possession of a destructive device. He is accused of demanding $10,000 from PayDay Today after setting off the explosion on January 2, 2020.
Investigators said they linked him to the explosion by tracing a phone number they believed he called from on a disposable phone they believe he bought the previous month at a Dollar General.
This witness said Aikens told him he had an idea to make money and “wanted to scare people.” The witness said Aikens told him that he wanted to take a phone and drop it on a door, then call him, and when a person answered, he set off an explosion. The witness told Aikens that he was “crazy.”
The witness said that one night Aikens picked him up and took him to a Piggly Wiggly parking lot that was located across the street from a bank, and saw him put a pressure cooker in the woods that was attached to a fishing line. .
Two weeks later, the witness heard about the pressure cooker bomb at the beauty school on the news and texted Aikens to say that he had made the news.
Aikens is represented by federal public defenders Natalie Awad and Wayne Blanchard. Assistant US Attorneys Jamilla Bynog, Daniel McCoy and LaDonte Murphy are prosecuting for the government. Judge Dee Drell presides.
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