Is the man charged with burning two historic churches in Douglas mentally OK to stand trial and OK to serve as his own lawyer? Even after several hearings there is still some suspense on that.

Prosecutors say Eric Ridenour burned the two churches because he felt it was against Gods law for the churches to have female and gay leaders.

Ridenour is serving as his own attorney. He told Judge Scott Rash he does not want the professional attorney Judge Rash appointed to assist him.

He said in court he plans to leave his defense in the hands of Jesus and says he wants a trial without delay.

Speaking of Jesus, Ridenour said, He has commanded me to not prepareto stand before the court with His words in my mouth.

While Ridenour plans to base his defense on the Bible, prosecutors say they have video surveillance that shows Ridenour near the churches just before the fires began and evidence that arson detection dogs found traces of flammable fluids on Ridenours clothes.

Judge Rash ordered a second psychiatric evaluation after the first psychiatrist suggested Ridenour might be considered mentally incompetent if he discussed having personal conversations with God.

The second examination did not happen. Judge Rash ruled Ridenour was not properly informed when the exam would be. Hes ordered a new evaluation to be ready in time for a new hearing April 12.

Judge Rash said hes hard pressed to find legal precedents to guide how hell rule on Ridenours mental competence in this case. In court, he said what he described as unorthodox views do not necessarily disqualify someone for trial.



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