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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Ocala woman accused of bringing firearm onto Kennedy Space Center

A 41-year-old Ocala woman was indicted this week on several charges after she allegedly brought a firearm onto Kennedy Space Center in February.

On Thursday, United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announced the return of an indictment charging Katie Jeane Mahai with armed trespassing, fleeing and eluding law enforcement officers, and unlawfully bringing a firearm onto Kennedy Space Center.

Ocala woman accused of bringing firearm onto Kennedy Space Center
Katie Jeane Mahai, 41, of Ocala (Marion County Jail booking photo taken on July 11, 2023)

According to the indictment, Mahai is accused of violating National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) regulations that are in place for the protection and security of the Kennedy Space Center, which is within the special territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

Specifically, on February 10, 2023, Mahai was allegedly armed with a firearm when she unlawfully entered a secured NASA area in a vehicle.

The indictment further states that during the same incident, Mahai allegedly fled from law enforcement officers at a high rate of speed while demonstrating a “wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

If Mahai is convicted on all counts, she faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison. She is currently being held at Brevard County Jail without bond.

This case was investigated by the NASA Office of Inspector General, Kennedy Space Center Security Police Officers, and the Titusville Police Department. It will be prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Rachel S. Lyons.