- Associated Press - Monday, December 22, 2014

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - A Mobile-area man charged in his daughter’s slaying pleaded not guilty Monday to federal charges of illegally possessing a shotgun that officers found while investigating the child’s death.

Hiawatha Robinson Jr., 38, entered the plea during a hearing in federal court just days after his arrest on murder and sodomy charges in the death of Hiawayi Robinson, 8.

Authorities say Robinson had a shotgun the day officers searched his home in Prichard in October while investigating the death of his daughter. Officials say Robinson can’t legally possess a gun because of past convictions on charges including domestic violence and drug possession.

But defense lawyer Jeff Deen said Robinson wasn’t at the house at the time of the search and doesn’t own the rundown home where the weapon was found.

“The taxes on the house are in his father’s name, and I believe the house is in his mother’s name,” Deen said. “I don’t know how they are claiming it was his.”

Federal prosecutors filed a motion asking a judge to detain Robinson because he could be a threat to flee or could try to threaten or harm potential witnesses or jurors, but the judge withheld a ruling since the man is in state custody in the slaying.

U.S. Magistrate Katherine P. Nelson said she could consider ordering Robinson held in federal custody if he is released by the state. Bond is set at $500,000.

Police arrested Robinson last week on charges of murder and a sex crime in the killing of his daughter Hiawayi, who was last seen alive in September.

Authorities allege the man killed the girl during a sexual assault. Her body was found following searches that included assistance from Robinson.

The child was reported missing Sept. 16, and her body was found two days later behind an abandoned building in Prichard.

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