Truck driver pleads guilty to setting Ohio mosque on fire
TOLEDO, Ohio (RNS) An Indiana man who said he gets all his information about Islam from talk radio and Fox News has pleaded guilty to setting fire to a mosque in September, but local Muslims voiced concern there may be more people like him out there.
Randolph Linn, a 52-year-old truck driver and former Marine, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Toledo on Wednesday (Dec. 19) to federal counts of intentionally damaging religious property, using fire or explosives in commission of a felony, and using a firearm to commit a crime of violence.
Linn is expected to be sentenced to 20 years in prison and to pay restitution of $1 million.
"Yes, justice has been served and the Islamic center will be rebuilt and we will meet inside it and continue to do so. But the actual problem hasn't been dealt with," said S. Zaheer Hasan, spokesman for the United Muslim Association of Toledo.
He said the real problem is growing animosity toward Muslims. "The arson attack was an isolated incident but it was a product of that hatred," he said.
Mahjabeen Islam, president of the damaged Islamic Center of Greater Toledo, said Linn showed no remorse during the hearing.
Linn told Judge Jack Zouhary that he drank 45 beers before seeing a wounded U.S. soldier on television and spontaneously deciding to drive 82 miles from his home in St. Joe, Ind., to the Toledo suburb of Perrysburg, Ohio.
Linn, who had seen the roadside mosque while hauling his truck, took three firearms with him and filled three gas cans at a gas station, authorities said.
According to the mosque president, Linn told the judge he didn't know any Muslims personally. "I only know what I hear on the radio and see on Fox News," he said, acco