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Published: Wednesday, 3/6/2013

Newly appointed attorney asks court to order psychological exam on Islamic Center arson suspect

Linn. Linn.

A newly appointed attorney for an Indiana man who admitted he set a fire at the Islamic Center in Perrysburg Township has asked the court to order a psychological evaluation for his client.

Attorney John Thebes said in motions filed today in U.S. District Court that no type of evaluation was requested or done to determine whether Randolph Linn, 52, of St. Joe, Ind., was competent to stand trial or to determine his state of mind at the time of the arson.

“The question of whether the defendant committed the acts is now secondary to the issue of whether he maintained the sufficient state of mind in committing these offenses to be convicted in the first instance,” the motion states.

Linn pleaded guilty in December to one count each of intentionally defacing, damaging, and destroying religious property; using a firearm to commit a felony; and using and carrying a firearm to commit a crime of violence stemming from a Sept. 30 fire at the mosque.

In January, he filed a motion on his own behalf asking to withdraw his guilty plea. Mr. Thebes filed a similar motion today but asked that a competency evaluation be performed first.

Mr. Thebes said some of the statements Linn made at his plea hearing “reflect the jumbled mind of the defendant at the time of the offense and seriously call into question the fact that no motions were filed regarding insanity and/or competence to stand trial.”

Asked at the hearing, for example, about whether he had planned to set the fire, Linn said no, it was something he just “jumped up and did.” Asked if he had time to think about it while driving the two hours or so to the mosque, he replied, “On the way going – coming back I thought what in the heck did I just do? I couldn’t believe I just did it. I never been in trouble before. What made me do that, I don’t know. I guess we’ll never know.”

Authorities said Linn poured gasoline on the rug in the prayer room at the mosque then set fire to it after walking through the building with a gun to check for people in each room. He told the court at the plea hearing he wanted to “get some payback” for Americans who had been killed.

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