Amish to be resentenced for remaining charges in beard-cutting attacks

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Monday, March 2, 2015
Members of the Amish community
Members of the Amish community enter the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Cleveland on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012.

CLEVELAND, OH -- Sixteen members of a breakaway Amish community from eastern Ohio are scheduled to be resentenced in Cleveland after a federal appellate court overturned their hate crime convictions.

The resentencing Monday afternoon is necessary because their original sentences did not distinguish between the hate crimes convictions that were overturned and other charges related to their involvement in the forced beard and hair cutting of seven members of other Amish communities and assaults on two others in 2011.

Eight defendants have already served their sentences and cannot be returned to prison. Attorneys have asked a federal judge in a written motion to release the remaining eight defendants, including community leader Samuel Mullet Sr., by sentencing them to time served. Mullet has been in custody for just over three years and was sentenced to 15 years in prison in early 2013.

A jury found all 16 guilty in 2012. Mullet did not directly participate in any of the attacks, but prosecutors accused him of exercising control over members of his community and helping hide evidence.

Defense attorneys said Mullet is not likely to get into trouble again.

"This case has served to educate both the Amish and the general population about the dangers of such conduct," his attorneys wrote. "Mullet's only wish is to return to a peaceful Amish community and put this ordeal behind him."

Mullet's life would be much different today, his attorneys said. His wife of nearly 40 years died in November and several community members have left the Amish faith, including one of his co-defendants.

The community in Bergholz, which sits near the West Virginia panhandle, has been shunned by other Amish communities and hasn't been able to find another Amish bishop willing to perform marriages and funerals, according to the defense motion.

"A stigma will forever be attached to this community," the attorneys wrote.