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Walid Omar-Aden's brother speaks out

The Independent.com
Saturday, November 24, 2012
By Sarah Schulz

Abdi Aden brought his younger brother to the United States in 2007.

He wanted his brother to have educational opportunities that weren't available in Kenya.

Three years later, Aden buried the young man in Nebraska.

He still struggles with the death.

He struggles more to understand why a jury acquitted the man accused of shooting him.

Walid Omar-Aden was born in January 1989 in Somalia. He later moved to Kenya due to civil war in his home country. Eventually, his brother moved him to Columbus, Ohio, with the hope that he'd find a better life.

Instead of following through with an education, Omar-Aden wanted to help support his brother's family.

"I begged him to stay in school, but he wanted to find a job," Aden said.

Omar-Aden traveled around the country with friends, looking for work. He came to Nebraska not long before his death in July 2010.

A few nights before he was shot outside a convenience store in Grand Island, the young man phoned his brother to say he wanted to return to Ohio and go to school.

"He was interested in the financial area," Aden said. "Unfortunately, it didn't happen."

The next phone call Aden got from Nebraska told him of his younger brother's death.

Before his death, Omar-Aden had learned some English, although some of the words weren't what his older brother considered to be polite.

Such words may have been exchanged between Omar-Aden and Arkanjelo M. Kot just before 9 p.m. July 14, 2010.

On that night, an argument between the men resulted in Omar-Aden being shot to death. Kot was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. He claimed he fired in self-defense after hearing Omar-Aden say, "Get the gun." His trial was in Hall County District Court earlier this month, and he was found not guilty by a jury on Nov. 13.

Aden can't understand why if Kot admitted to firing the fatal shot, he wasn't found guilty.

"We believe no justice was done for our brother," Aden said of his brother and sisters. "Our family is not happy with that decision."

When Hall County Attorney Mark Young called Aden, who was at home in Ohio, to tell him of the acquittal, Aden was confused and upset.

"We believe our brother was killed for no reason," he said. "We were shocked. We lost our brother. I wish I could explain more about how I feel. I don't have the words."

The days after Omar-Aden was killed were difficult for Aden. He received a call about the shooting and was told authorities believed the young man was murdered. He traveled to Grand Island to bury his brother. He received very little information about the circumstances surrounding his death.

"I was told it was under investigation," he said. "The investigators told me that my brother was murdered."

There were multiple delays as the case worked its way through the court system. Aden said Young would call with updates.

When it came time for the trial, which began on Nov. 5, Aden was unable to travel to Nebraska. His wife gave birth to their sixth child at the end of October, and he couldn't afford the trip.

Before and during the trial, he learned the argument between Omar-Aden and Kot is believed by authorities to have been connected to the murder of Kot's cousin in August 2009. According to testimony at the trial, Omar-Aden "became acquainted" with at least one of the men involved in that murder prior to being shot.

But Aden doesn't believe it.

"He had nothing to do with that incident," Aden said. "He didn't know those men."

He also believes the two men Omar-Aden was with on the night he was shot didn't do enough to help him. After the gun was fired, the men returned to a residence on Sycamore Street, and several minutes passed before help arrived.

"The guys with him neglected him," Aden said.

He isn't happy that one of the men who witnessed the shooting didn't testify at the trial. He believes authorities were unable to find him.

Aden asked Young if he could hire his own attorney to put Kot on trial, but he was told that isn't how the system works. He can, however, hire an attorney to sue Kot in civil court.

But there are no funds for such action.

"I wish I could find money to get help, to get answers," Aden said. "I believe Mark Young did a good job, but there was a piece missing. The legal system is hard to understand. I feel I didn't do whatever I could. I wasn't there enough for him."

As the older brother, Aden carries a heavy burden of guilt. He feels responsible because he brought his brother to the United States.

"Help me to tell the people what we are feeling right now," Aden said, his voice overcome with emotion. "Tell people about my little brother. I loved him."



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