Man tries to withdraw plea after Islamic Center fire - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Man tries to withdraw plea after Islamic Center fire

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PERRYSBURG, Ohio -

The man who admitted to setting a fire inside the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo is now one step closer to withdrawing that plea.  Randy Linn, of St. Joe Indiana, made that formal request in front of a judge Friday.

It was a very different hearing than back in December when Randy Linn admitted to Judge Jack Zouhary that judge he drank 45 beers, drove from Indiana to set a fire at the Islamic Center in Perrysburg because he was upset about images he'd seen on television of Muslims killing Americans.  Friday Linn was pretty silent but his intention was clear.

The last time we saw Linn he was leaving federal court in Toledo headed for federal prison in Milan Michigan facing 20 years in prison for setting the fire.  At some point in prison he had time to write a letter saying he wanted to withdraw his guilty plea because he said...

"… My plea was not knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily made, due to my duress and my emotional state at the time of my plea…."

Even though Linn did have a lawyer and was asked several times in December whether he understood the plea, Linn said in his letter:

"I did not have the opportunity to discuss defenses, tactics, strategies or the nature and effect of my guilty plea and sentencing."

Linn also said, "…I was under depression over this alleged crime.  I made the wrong decision."

At his hearing Friday morning, Judge Zouhary appointed Linn a new attorney.  That attorney offered no comment when asked why Linn was doing this.  Linn only answered the judge with a "yes sir" when asked whether it was his desire to move forward with formally trying to withdraw the plea. 

A hearing is now set for March to hear arguments on the motion to withdraw the guilty plea.  13abc talked to federal prosecutors after Friday's hearing.  They did not speculate on why exactly Linn was doing this but said he's exercising his right and that not much surprises them in cases anymore.

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