The case of the Amish hair-cutters will proceed to trial. The sixteen defendants rejected a plea offer that would have given them sentences of 2-3 years. They'll take their chances at trial where they face potential sentences of twenty years or more.
The defendants include members of an eastern Ohio breakaway Amish group. Prosecutors said the attacks were hate crimes.
The defendants said they were internal church disciplinary matters not involving anti-Amish bias.
So, they're stickin' with that story. Two problems: 1) The judge found that a sectarian conflict can be considered a hate crime and the Bergholz clan is a break-away sect, and 2) That they consider attacking people in their homes and cutting off their hair and beards -- something the Amish consider an assault on their religious beliefs and highly degrading -- a form of "discipline" tells you everything you need to know about Bishop Sam Mullet. He also considers putting his own male followers in a chicken coop and sleeping with their wives a form of discipline. Sam Mullet is one sick twist.
One little detail jumped out at me in this write-up that I had somehow missed. It seems that after butchering their targets' hair, they took pictures of them. (???) That alone is an assault. The Amish believe being photographed is vanity... and this is even worse. Mullet was trying to grant them infamy.
The Amish no camera rule will probably preclude this trial being broadcast in deference to the modest of the witnesses if not the defendants. Sam Mullet actually seems to like being in front of a camera. It's too bad, though. This is a trial I'd really like to see. It's just so fascinating and it's so full of unintentional hilarity.
The judge initially said he intended to split the trial in two — with the first trial for Mullet and six others who have been jailed since their arrest. The judge said he was concerned that a trial with 16 defendants might confuse jurors, in part because nine defendants have the last name Miller.
Sixteen defendants with identical hairstyles and beards almost all of whom are named Mullet or Miller and the judge had concerns that the jury might be confused. Ya think?!