Indiana man Randolph Linn, charged with setting fire to the largest mosque in the Toledo area of Ohio in September, pleaded guilty Wednesday (December 19) while at the town's U.S. District Court. Linn said that after downing 45 beers while watching Fox News and its continual criticism of Muslims and Islam, the broadcast got him “riled up” to commit the act.
Charged with a felony arson charge, defacing and intentionally damaging religious property, as well as carrying a firearm with violent intent, Linn entered a guilty plea agreement that slashed his original 40-year sentence in half according to the Toledo Blade. The 52-year-old Linn will begin serving his time in April of next year.
Linn said in court statements that on the night of September 30, he had been drinking heavily while watching Fox. Linn reportedly said to Judge Jack Zouhary that while he didn't know any Muslims personally, he believed all who practiced the faith were extremists according to the news programs. Linn's plan was allegedly premeditated, as prosecutor Ava Dusten said Linn spoke with his 20-year-old son about setting fire to the mosque two weeks prior to the actual day.
Toledo NBC affiliate WNWO was on hand at the court with a live report. Dr. Mahjabeen Islam, President of the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo, was relieved with Linn's verdict. “It sends a very loud message to future criminals that our society will not tolerate this hate and violence," said Dr. Islam from the court grounds.