LIVE VIDEO: Atlanta and Company    Watch

16 Amish found guilty in beard-cutting attacks

5:08 PM, Sep 20, 2012   |    comments
A photograph introduced into evidence during the trial (WKYC)
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

CLEVELAND -- A jury in Cleveland has convicted 16 Amish members, including the leader of a breakaway group, in a federal hate crimes trial for the beard and hair-cutting attacks on fellow Amish.

The jury reached its decision after deliberating more than 30 hours across five days. Jurors were asked to consider 54 charges on 10 separate counts.

PHOTOS | Amish group members convicted in hate crimes trial

The 16 members of the so-called Bergholz clan were all convicted on conspiracy for participating in some manner in the attacks which the U.S. Attorney likened to animals being forcibly shorn. Hair and beards have enormous religious symbolism for the Amish.

The trial centered on the leader of the Bergholz clan, Sam Mullet Sr., who was found guilty of planning the attacks last fall in Eastern Ohio in a dispute over religious differences.

Besides conspiracy, the jury convicted Mullet Sr. on six additional charges. Jurors acquitted him on two other counts.

Mullet faces a prison term of 10 years or more.

Defense attorneys had conceded the hair cuttings took place but argued that the government was overreaching by calling what happened hate crimes. They argued the cuttings were merely personal family disputes.

The judge has set sentencing for January 24 and dismissed the jury telling them, "You are the most attentive jury I've had on my 14 years on the bench."

The five cutting attacks on a total of nine victims took place between September and November last year.

Here is a breakdown of the verdict on each count:


All 16 defendants were accused of Count 1 -- conspiracy -- for allegedly participating in one way or the other in the cutting of fellow Amish women's hair and Amish men's hair and beards. The jury convicted all 16 on this count. GUILTY

Five men and five women, including Mullet Sr., are charged withCount 2, attacking Martin and Barbara Miller on Sept. 6, 2011. ALL GUILTY

Mullet and four other men are charged in Count 3, the Sept. 24, 2011 attack on David Wengard. ALL FOUND NOT GUILTY

Mullet and five other men are charged with Count 4, attacking Raymond Hershberger and his son, Andy Hershberger, on Oct. 4, 2011. GUILTY

Five of the men are charged with Count 5, attacking Myron Miller on Oct. 4 as well. GUILTY. Jury acquits Lester Miller on this count.

Count 6 charges relate to the Nov. 9 attack on Melvin and Anna Schrock while the couple was visiting their children and grandchildren in Bergholz. GUILTY

In Count 7, Samuel Mullet Sr. alone is accused of destroying evidence -- a bag of hair brought to him from one of the attacks. NOT GUILTY

Count 8 has Mullet Sr., and three other men tampering with evidence, specifically, hiding the disposable camera that Eli Miller used to document the attacks. Sam Mullet, Eli Miller and Lester Mullet found GUILTY. Levi Miller found NOT GUILTY

Defendant Lester Miller is the only one charged with Count 9, trying to hide the mane-cutting shears used in the attacks. NOT GUILTY

Mullet Sr. is the only one of the defendants charged with Count 10, lying to the FBI when they interviewed him on Nov. 22 about the attacks. GUILTY

(WKYC Cleveland)

Most Watched Videos