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Kenyan charged with illegal possession of a firearm in Cedar Rapids

Trial set Nov. 17 in U.S. District Court

Kevin Naholi

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Kenyan national pleaded not guilty Thursday in federal court to illegally having a rifle, which witnesses told police he used to threaten passers-by in his neighborhood last August.

Kevin O. Naholi, 40, was indicted this week in U.S. District Court on one count of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person — being an undocumented immigrant and having a prior domestic violence conviction.

U.S. District Chief Magistrate C.J. Williams granted the prosecution’s request to keep Naholi in jail pending trial.

Naholi’s trial is to start Nov. 17, with jury selection and testimony Nov. 20, court documents show.

A criminal complaint states witnesses told police that Naholi was outside his house, 1607 11th Ave. SW, holding a .22-caliber rifle and threatening people Aug. 26 and 27.

When officers arrived, Naholi went inside his home and refused to come out. His wife and son came out to talk with police, and his son said his father had firearms. The two tried to coax him outside but he refused, according to the complaint.

Police negotiated with Naholi for more than 11 hours and then a Cedar Rapids police special response unit entered the home and removed him, the complaint shows. Officers then conducted a search of the house, which Naholi’s wife approved as the homeowner, and they found a .22-caliber Winchester rifle.

Court documents show Naholi lawfully entered the United States in 2003 on a student visa, but it was terminated in 2004 after he failed to enroll in school.

He was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and placed in removal proceedings. Those proceedings were terminated in 2016 after Naholi made plans to pursue becoming a naturalized citizen.

His request, however, was denied in June.

Naholi was convicted in May 2008 of misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury, domestic abuse, in Linn County District Court, court documents show.

If convicted, Naholi faces up to 10 years in prison.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com