Saturday, December 18, 2010
A Kenyan nuclear engineer who stormed into a girlfriend’s apartment brandishing a gun and threatening to kill her if he found another man there was sentenced in Pittsburgh federal court Friday to three years and one month in prison on four gun charges.
Leo Nyangoko Chacha, 37, entered the country legally in 1988 on a student visa but stayed after his visa expired in 2001. At the time of his arrest, he was a fugitive from a 2000 Arizona drug case.
When Chacha was arrested, he was in possession of a stolen 9 mm pistol. He pleaded guilty in June to four charges connected to the pistol: possession of a firearm by a fugitive, possession of a firearm by a drug user, possession of a firearm by an illegal alien and possession of a firearm by a foreign national who entered the country on a non-immigrant visa.
U.S. District Judge Gary Lancaster also sentenced Chacha to three years of probation but noted that he would be deported as soon as he finished his prison sentence.
Chacha said he was sorry for the grief he caused family and friends.
“It was stupid. I was silly to have that gun in my possession,” he said.
The former girlfriend told the judge that she has had trouble sleeping since the incident and changes her route if she sees a vehicle like the one Chacha drove. The Tribune-Review doesn’t identify victims of domestic violence.
Chacha earned a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from Penn State and was working for NuVision Engineering Inc. when he was arrested in 2009.