Attorney pursues knife charge
DES MOINES, Iowa – An Iowa county prosecutor has charged an Ohio man with possessing an unlawful knife outside a hotel where Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and his family stayed during a campaign visit in July.Wapello County Attorney Mark Tremmel filed documents Wednesday formally charging Davit Zakaryan, 24, of Cincinnati, with carrying weapons, which carries a maximum prison sentence of up to two years and a fine of at least $625.Court documents allege that Zakaryan “on the fourth of July did have in his possession concealed in his vehicle a knife with a blade exceeding eight inches in length,” said Zakaryan’s attorney, Phil Ferren, of Ottumwa.Iowa law makes it illegal to have a knife with a blade of more than 8 inches in length “concealed on or about the person.”Arraignment was set for Sept. 5.David Krikorian, a Cincinnati businessman, said Zakaryan had bought decks of cards from him that were printed with Hillary Clinton and Obama’s pictures. He had been traveling to campaign stops to sell the cards. Frequently, peddlers set up near campaign appearances to sell campaign buttons, T-shirts and other items.”That’s all the guy was doing,” Krikorian said.Court documents indicate that Krikorian posted bond for Zakaryan on July 9, and Zakaryan was released from jail.Zakaryan drew the suspicion of Secret Service agents on July 4 outside the Fairfield Inn hotel in Ottumwa. Obama, his wife and two young daughters stayed at the hotel the night before while campaigning through the state.Ottumwa Police Lt. Mike McDonough said Obama’s security crew became suspicious because they thought Zakaryan’s car looked familiar and may have been at an earlier campaign stop. The agents asked Ottumwa police to question him.Zakaryan was arrested after authorities determined he did not have a valid driver’s license. That charge also is pending in Wapello County.Zakaryan was not carrying a knife. An ornamental knife was found inside a seat pocket in the car he was driving.