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Published: Wednesday, 12/19/2012

New charge filed against suspect in Islamic Center mosque fire

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

An Indiana man who is charged with setting a Sept. 30 fire at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo is to appear today in federal court, where he is expected to change his plea.

Randolph Linn, 52, of St. Joe, was charged in October with one count each of intentionally defacing, damaging, and destroying religious property and using a fire to commit a felony.

On Tuesday, a federal grand jury indicted him on a charge of using and carrying a firearm to commit a crime of violence.

Mr. Linn is accused of breaking into the Perrysburg Township mosque and using gasoline to start a fire in the second-floor prayer room.

He was identified from images taken by surveillance cameras at the mosque that recorded an intruder before the fire broke out.

Authorities said the images also showed a vehicle that resembled one he had drive to his Fort Wayne, Ind., workplace on Oct. 2, the day he was arrested.

Mr. Linn pleaded not guilty to the initial charges during an Oct. 18 court appearance. He has been in jail in Toledo since then.

While being booked on the initial charges, Mr. Linn reportedly said to an officer, “[Expletive] those Muslims.” He also informed arresting officers of three firearms in his parked vehicle.

The woman who referred authorities to Mr. Linn said he had been outspoken and critical about the international Muslim community’s reaction to an anti-Muslim video online as well as recent attacks on U.S. embassies overseas and the death of American military personnel in the Middle East, authorities said.

She said Mr. Linn complained that Muslims in the United States get a “free pass,” according to those reports.

Based on a preliminary review of the federal sentencing guidelines, Mr. Linn, if convicted, faces between 70 and 88 months in prison for the charge of damage to religious property, followed by a 10-year mandatory sentence for using fire.

The additional weapons charge carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

Contact Erica Blake at: eblake@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.



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