Accused church arsonist leaves his defense to God

Eric Ridenour refused an attorney in his defense against arson charges in two Douglas church fires
Accused church arsonist leaves his defense to God
Accused church arsonist leaves his defense to God
Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 6:12 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Accused Douglas church arsonist Eric Ridenour, said his defense would be in the Lord’s hands. The judge said that Ridenour should have at least a second opinion. The Honorable Scott Rash was surprised by Ridenour’s announcement that he would defend himself because he asked multiple times if Ridenour was sure.

Ridenour noted two different Bible verses as his guide:

The first one was Luke 12:11 (King James Version) “And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:”

Luke 12:12 finishes: “For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.”

The second was Isaiah 9:6 (King James Version): “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

The judge said that he was familiar with the Bible and those verses but that Ridenour still needed help from his fellow man to navigate the court.

But Eric Ridenour made his decision clear.

“I put my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; I put my faith in 12 honest jurors and a judge who’s read his scripture,” he told the federal judge Tuesday.

The honorable Scott Rash asked Eric Ridenour at least five times if he was sure he wanted to defend himself or advised him that it was not a good idea after Ridenour’s defense attorney said that Ridenour refused meetings with him twice because Ridenour did not want an attorney. Ridenour said he has a mighty counselor in the Lord Jesus.

Ridenour is charged with two counts of arson of property in interstate commerce for the May 22nd fires that burned St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and First Presbyterian Church in Douglas.

His hearing for release in June presented his motive for not liking women or homosexuals in positions of authority in the church. Saint Stephen’s vicar, who is now in Mesa, was openly gay and the pastor of First Presbyterian is a woman.

Ridenour said his two witnesses would be the Bible and a book concerning the accuracy of the King James Bible, both of which the judge said would not be allowed as witnesses. Nor can jurors be required to be Christian, as Ridenour requested. The judge made clear that Ridenour will have no special treatment representing himself. But Ridenour said that would not be a problem.

“I won’t be representing myself. I’ll have the Lord Jesus representing me,” he said.

His trial is scheduled to start on Halloween and last about three days.

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