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Linn asks judge to withdraw guilty pleas in Islamic Center arson case

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Randolph Linn.

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An Indiana man is asking a federal judge to withdraw his guilty pleas in the arson fire to the Islamic Center in Perrysburg Township.

Randolph Linn, 52, of St. Joe, submitted a motion on his own behalf on Tuesday, asking U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary to withdraw the guilty pleas he entered on Dec. 19 in the mosque fire.

Linn said he made the pleas under duress and wasn't given the opportunity to to discuss trial strategy or the ramifications of pleading guilty to the crimes with his attorney.

"At that time I was under depression over this alleged crime. I made the wrong decision," he wrote.

His attorney, Andrew Hart, who is a federal public defender, could not be reached for comment.

Linn pleaded guilty to one count each of intentionally defacing, damaging, and destroying religious property; using a fire to commit a felony; and using and carrying a firearm to commit a crime of violence.

As part of a binding plea agreement accepted in court, he will be ordered to serve 20 years in prison when sentenced April 16 and will be required to pay restitution to the mosque.

Linn admitted he set fire to the rug in the prayer room at the mosque on Sept. 30 after walking through the building with a gun to check for people in each room. He said he was motivated to drive the nearly two hours from his Indiana home to the Perrysburg mosque “to get some payback” for Americans who had been killed.

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