You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Courts

  • 2011's drug ring bust: Where are they now?
    More than three years after the members of the drug trafficking ring were rousted from their homes, cuffed and taken into federal custody, nearly all now know their fate.
  • Fifth man handed 10 years for nabbing, beating teen
    The fifth of six then-teenagers who beat and held hos­tage another teen before dumping him in a park with bleeding on his brain and a fractured sternum was sentenced to prison Friday.
  • Report public, Wartell says
    In the five months since an investigative report was declared evidence in former IPFW Chancellor Mike Wartell's lawsuit against Purdue University, university attorneys never asked for a court order to keep it from the public.
Advertisement

Suspect in mosque fire withdraws guilty plea

Linn

TOLEDO, Ohio – A former Marine from northeast Indiana who previously said he set fire to an Ohio mosque because he wanted to avenge the killings of American troops asked Tuesday to withdraw his guilty plea to federal hate crime charges.

In his request, Randy Linn said he was under duress and depressed when he entered his plea last month in the fire at a suburban Toledo mosque.

“I made the wrong decision,” he wrote.

A deal between prosecutors and Linn had called for him to be sentenced to 20 years next April after he pleaded guilty to intentionally damaging and destroying religious property and two gun-related charges.

Prosecutors say he broke into The Islamic Center of Greater Toledo last fall and went room by room to make sure no one was in the building before he poured gasoline on a prayer rug and lit it on fire.

Linn described on Dec. 19 how he had been drinking heavily before he drove to the mosque in Perrysburg. U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary asked Linn what motivated him to go there.

“Every day you turn on the TV, you see Muslims trying to kill Americans,” said Linn, 53, a truck driver from St. Joe.

When asked whether he thought all Muslims are terrorists, he answered: “I’d say most of them are.”

In moving to withdraw his plea, Linn said he did not have the chance to talk defense tactics, strategies or the effect of his guilty plea. Federal prosecutors declined to comment on Linn’s request.

Authorities said Linn had several firearms in his car and carried a gun into the mosque when he set the fire on Sept. 30.

A sprinkler system extinguished the blaze, leaving smoke and water damage in the prayer room of the facility, whose golden dome is a landmark along Interstate 75. No one was hurt.

Members of the Islamic center have been unable to use the building and expect repairs to be finished by the end of March.

Linn said in court last month that he started to have second thoughts when he drove home. “Coming back, I thought, ‘What in the heck did I do?’ ”

“I feel bad I did it,” he said. “It’s a little too late now.”

Advertisement