Trial in Amish hair-cutting attacks begins in Ohio

Topics: From the Wires,

CLEVELAND (AP) — A breakaway Amish group spent months planning hair- and beard-cutting attacks against followers of their faith in eastern Ohio, federal prosecutors said Tuesday as they outlined their case against 16 men and women charged with hate crimes in the attacks.

The accused ringleader, Samuel Mullet Sr., wore a blue shirt and suspenders, with a beard hanging down to the middle of his chest, and sat rigidly in his seat as the trial got under way in Cleveland. He and the other defendants denied the charges, rejected plea bargain offers and could face lengthy prison terms if convicted in the hair-cuttings, which are considered deeply offensive in Amish culture.

“Every one of these attacks targeted those symbols of Amish righteousness,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan, who described the attacks in nearly step-by-step detail.

Prosecutors say the attacks were motivated solely by religious disagreements between Amish bishops and a breakaway group. The defendants describe what happened as internal church disciplinary matters and say the government shouldn’t get involved.

Brennan said some suspects kept the hair they cut, and one defendant took along a disposable camera to take pictures. Prosecutors presented one photo to jurors, saying it showed a suspect holding an Amish bishop on the night some defendants broke into his house and cut his beard.

The camera was hidden under a tree, Brennan said.

“They wanted to see the trophies they collected,” she said.

Brennan said that several defendants admitted their roles and that Mullet didn’t participate in the attacks but helped plan them.

“Sam Mullet was at the beginning and the end of all of these attacks,” she said.

Mullet has said he didn’t order the hair-cutting but didn’t stop anyone from carrying it out.

Brennan said that some of the victims would testify against the defendants and that the children, grandchildren and siblings of the suspects also would testify about what they saw and knew.

The defense was expected to present its case later Tuesday.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 10
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie

    A contemporary romantic comedy set to Elvis Costello and lots of luxurious and sinful sugary treats.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Welcome to Temptation" by Jennifer Crusie

    Another of Crusie's romantic comedies, this one in the shadow of an ostentatiously phallic water tower.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "A Gentleman Undone" by Cecilia Grant

    A Regency romance with beautifully broken people and some seriously steamy sex.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Black Silk" by Judith Ivory

    A beautifully written, exquisitely slow-building Regency; the plot is centered on a box with some very curious images, as Edward Gorey might say.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "For My Lady's Heart" by Laura Kinsale

    A medieval romance, the period piece functions much like a dystopia, with the courageous lady and noble knight struggling to find happiness despite the authoritarian society.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Sweet Disorder" by Rose Lerner

    A Regency that uses the limitations on women of the time to good effect; the main character is poor and needs to sell her vote ... or rather her husband's vote. But to sell it, she needs to get a husband first ...   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Frenemy of the People" by Nora Olsen

    Clarissa is sitting at an awards banquet when she suddenly realizes she likes pictures of Kimye for both Kim and Kanye and she is totally bi. So she texts to all her friends, "I am totally bi!" Drama and romance ensue ... but not quite with who she expects. I got an advanced copy of this YA lesbian romance, and I’d urge folks to reserve a copy; it’s a delight.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "The Slightest Provocation" by Pam Rosenthal

    A separated couple works to reconcile against a background of political intrigue; sort of "His Gal Friday" as a spy novel set in the Regency.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Again" by Kathleen Gilles Seidel

    Set among workers on a period soap opera, it manages to be contemporary and historical both at the same time.   Read the whole essay.

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>