TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) – A federal judge sentenced a former Marine from Indiana to 20 years in prison Tuesday for starting a fire inside an Ohio mosque because he wanted revenge for the killings of American soldiers overseas.
Randy Linn, 52, apologized in court and blamed what happened on a day of heavy drinking. He said late last year while pleading guilty that he’d become enraged after seeing images of wounded soldiers in the news and decided to burn the mosque.
U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary ordered Linn, of St. Joe, Ind., to pay $1.4 million for the damages caused by the fire.
Prosecutors have said Linn drove about two hours from his home to suburban Toledo on Sept. 30 and broke into the mosque where he poured gasoline on a prayer rug and lit it on fire. Linn had several firearms in his car and carried a gun into the mosque, which was empty at the time.
“Thank God I didn’t hurt anybody,” Linn said Tuesday. “I don’t think I would’ve, but the state of mind I was in, I don’t know.”
Linn pleaded guilty to hate crime charges last December. When asked then by the judge whether he thought all Muslims are terrorists, he answered: “I’d say most of them are.”
But Linn tried to take back his plea earlier this year, saying he was in an emotional and depressed state when he pleaded guilty. His attorney asked the judge to throw out the plea so Linn could undergo a competency exam.
Zouhary turned down his request to withdraw the plea last month.
Prosecutors have maintained that Linn did not act on impulse and pointed out that he told his son a few weeks before the fire that he wanted to burn down the mosque.
Cherrefe Kadri, president of the Islamic Center, addressed Linn in court before he was sentenced.
“We don’t feel anger as much as hurt that someone hated us so much,” she said as he looked away.
She said what he did was an attack on all religions and the entire community.
Members of the Islamic center were unable to use the building until just the last few weeks. 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.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments
- Here’s why Gaydos went tankless with his water heater
- 12 things to watch before the Oscars
- Bocce ball and basketball: How you can help Arizona's Special Olympics athletes
- Tips on building the best wine room in Arizona
- Avoid the nightmare: 6 tips to choose a great contractor
- Breast cancer: Improved testing and treatments means more survivors
- Best and worst of Super Bowl commercials
- Failed back surgery: New hope for patients living in pain
- Ticking time bombs: Telltale signs your water heater is about to explode
- Reading glasses could be a thing of the past
- 6 cool ways teachers are using technology in the classroom
- Emerging tech jobs in Phoenix and how to get one in 2017
- 4 top treatments athletes use for pain
- Emergency! What to do when bathrooms flood
- Operation Santa Claus needs holiday help
- This college bowl season is likely to be epic
- Arizona kids in crisis: How you can help
- 11 holiday classics for the ultimate movie marathon
- New treatment offers hope for migraine sufferers
- 11 stadiums to watch your favorite football team
- Shopping for a TV? Best models for 2016
- The new beer pairing guide for holiday foods
- Avoid this holiday plumbing disaster in your home
- 7 tips to avoid holiday weight gain
- New treatments mean better prostate cancer survival rates
- 5 of the scariest things found in drains
- 6 tips to create the best family movie night
- New bone marrow procedure holds promise for healing pain
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes