Islamic Center arsonist gets 20 years
Written by PETER KUEBECK, Sentinel Staff Writer
Tuesday, 16 April 2013 17:02
TOLEDO – A somber and contrite Randolph Linn was sentenced to 20 years in prison Tuesday for last year’s arson at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo.
“I’m sorry for everything I done,” Linn, 52, St. Joe, Ind., said before sentence was pronounced. “I hope someday I can be forgiven.”
Linn pleaded guilty in December to federal hate crimes and gun charges stemming from the Sept. 30, 2012, arson at the center, on Scheider Road in Perrysburg Township. Linn spread gasoline in a prayer room at the mosque, and then set it afire, and was in possession of a handgun while he committed the act.
He had been a truck driver for a Fort Wayne, Ind., company which took him near the mosque and familiarized him with the area.
In open court during his plea, Linn admitted he drank more than 45 beers over seven hours and became incensed over news reports about Islamic extremism overseas before committing the act.
“That was me that did it, it wasn’t me that I normally am,” Linn said during his comments Tuesday, acknowledging his drinking.
Linn’s case went through a series of legal maneuverings prior to sentencing.
After his guilty plea, Linn apparently had a change of heart and filed a “pro se” action in January, asking District Court Judge Jack Zouhary to withdraw his guilty plea, stating he was “depressed” and under “duress” at the time.
After changing lawyers, is current council, John Thebes, filed a more official motion to withdraw, arguing that Linn’s mental state should have been called into question during the proceedings.
He asked for a psychological examination to take place.
Both requests were denied following a hearing last month.
Cherrefe Kadri, president of the Islamic Center, offered words at the hearing, addressing Linn directly.
“We’ve lost a lot, but you’ve lost much more,” she said. “And I honestly felt sorry for you.”
Noting how the arson “disjointed” the area Islamic community, she also pointed out that Northwest Ohio is a close-knit group of multiple faiths, and “when you injured us, you injured the entire Greater Toledo Community.”
She addressed the fact that no statement of forgiveness has been issued by the center, stating that “forgiveness is to be sought from God.”
“We don’t feel anger as much as we feel hurt that someone hated us that much.”
Kadri acknowledged a heretofore unmentioned fact: she was among a small group of women who left the Islamic Center mere minutes before Linn arrived.
“I honestly pray for you to receive inner peace and solace.”
Linn’s attorney, John Thebes, said that had the event happened to his own faith community, he “would end up at a point where” he would “forgive.”
“What a better world it would be if we just forgive.”
“It is difficult to believe he is sorry for his actions,” said Prosecutor Gwen Howe-Gebers, adding it is more likely Linn was sorry for “getting caught.”
She told Zouhary that his sentence “should send a message to others in the community.”
Linn’s sentence, part ofa binding plea agreement, includes, along with the 20 years, a $1.4 million restitution, as well as five years of probation.
Zouhary, in pronouncing sentence, compared Linn’s acts to the bombing Monday of the Boston Marathon, calling both incidents “an assault on what I call the American spirit.”
He exhorted Linn to take advantage of the programs available to him in prison to better himself.
When asked for a preference on where he might be incercerated, Linn asked that he be in a prison near Fort Wayne, the residence of his son.
Linn acknowledged that his wife, who turned him in to authorities, has since divorced him, and is unable to live in their house any longer because she cannot make the payments.
“I lost her, I lost my son,” he said.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 April 2013 08:57