The man charged with burning down two historic churches in Douglas said in court Friday that hes ready for trial, but Eric Ridenours mental competence for trial is still waiting for a formal ruling.

At the Tucson Federal Courthouse, the religious beliefs of Douglas church arson suspect Eric Ridenour have always been a factor in the case Now theres a delicate question arising as to whether they affect whether he is mentally competent to stand trial.

Prosecutors say Eric Ridenour burned the two churches because he thought it was against Gods law that one church had a female pastor and the other had a gay pastor. Ridenour is facing arson and hate crime charges in the case.

He will serve as his own attorney with a professional lawyer advising him.

Now a psychological evaluation has raised a new issue in the case. The Doctor who did the eval said Ridenour understands his situation and is competent to stand trial but added a comment that seemed to conflict with that. He said Ridenours talk of communicating with God could lead to him being judged as grandiose, delusional and not competent for trial.

The prosecutor in the case convinced Federal Judge Scott Rash to order a new hearing with the doctor to clarify what he meant before theres a formal ruling on whether Ridenour is competent or not.

That may happen towards the end of the month.



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