Judge finds mosque arson suspect mentally incompetent

A man looks around a room
Imam Sheikh Sa'ad Musse Roble surveys the destruction at Masjid Al Rahma mosque on April 24.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News

A federal magistrate judge on Wednesday ruled that a man accused of setting fires inside two Minneapolis mosques earlier this year is not mentally competent to stand trial.

Jackie Rahm Little, 36, of Plymouth, Minn., is facing arson and hate crime charges after allegedly setting a fire in the bathroom of Masjid Omar Islamic Center on April 23. Investigators also suspect him of lighting a second fire the following day at Masjid Al Rahma.

Magistrate Judge Douglas Micko ordered Little to undergo mental health treatment at a federal prison medical facility for up to 120 days “to determine whether there is a substantial probability that in the foreseeable future Mr. Little will attain the capacity” to understand the court proceedings against him.

In June, Little’s defense attorney gave notice that his client would pursue an insanity defense.

State court records show that Little has been civilly committed for bipolar disorder with psychotic features and has been in and out of jail, group homes and hospitals in recent years.

In January, a Hennepin County Mental Health Court referee found Little mentally incompetent to be prosecuted for a 2021 vehicle arson.

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