Leader of Amish group in Ohio wants light sentence

An attorney for the leader of an Amish breakaway group convicted of hate crimes in beard- and hair-cutting attacks has asked a federal judge for a light sentence, saying what happened was no more than a minor assault.
Associated Press
Feb 2, 2013


Samuel Mullet Sr.'s attorney said in court documents filed Friday that Mullet has no criminal history and that the 67-year-old is hardly a threat to commit any more crimes.

Mullet is scheduled to be sentenced next Friday in U.S. District Court in Cleveland and faces up to life in prison. But his attorney argued that a sentence of 18 months to two years is more appropriate.

Defense attorney Ed Bryan said Mullet is facing the same sentence as those given to several notorious killers including Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Atlanta Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph, and Jared Lee Loughner, who's serving seven consecutive life terms gunning down six people and injuring former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

"Non-drug federal life sentences are thus typically reserved for the most heinous of crimes involving murder," Bryan wrote.

Mullet was one of 16 people convicted in the hair-cuttings who came from the Amish settlement that he founded in the eastern Ohio town of Bergholz near the West Virginia panhandle

All are scheduled to be sentenced next week.

The government said the cuttings were an attempt to shame members of the Amish community who he believed were straying from their beliefs. His followers were found guilty of carrying out the attacks, which terrorized the normally peaceful religious settlement.

Prosecutors and witnesses described how sons pulled their father out of bed and chopped off his beard and how women surrounded their mother-in-law and cut off two feet of her hair, taking it down to the scalp in some places.

Prosecutors say they targeted hair because it carries spiritual significance in their faith.

Mullet wasn't accused of cutting anyone's hair. But prosecutors said he planned and encouraged his sons and the others and mocked the victims in jailhouse phone calls.

Mullet's attorney said in the court filing that no one suffered any serious physical harm and that Mullet is now suffering "invisible" penalties that go beyond the courtroom.

"A significant collateral consequence for Mullet is the loss of his privacy and the smearing of the reputation of the Bergholz Amish community," Bryan wrote. "Most important to Mullet, however, is the damage suffered by the Bergholz Amish community as a whole."

Prosecutors say Mullet thought he was above the law and free to discipline those who went against him based on his religious beliefs. Before his arrest last November, he defended what he believes is his right to punish people who break church laws.

The hair cuttings, he said, were a response to continuous criticism he'd received from other Amish religious leaders about him being too strict, including shunning people in his own group.




Whats this world coming to when even the Amish cant get along??


The Amish don't get along. There are many different orders of Amish, many of which do not see eye to eye. If high order Amish want to marry a low order Amish it would not usually be allowed. This would be because the low order Amish would feel that the beliefs of the high order would be too modern and would lead their child away from a Godly life. I learned so much when I lived on the Wayne and Holmes County line. I worked with the Amish community and went to their homes to investigate elderly abuse. I attended trainings on Amish Culture taught by people who had left the Amish community. I was so surprised by what I learned. Not all Amish are abusive, rude, or even believe everything they are taught but they stay because it is hard to leave family and everything you know. However, the Amish are just people like everyone else. They are not pure as snow. The same problems that plague the English plague them as well, including not getting along with one another.


Thanks for the education....i grew up around the Amish community but never really interacted with them. Where i was from we had the Mennonites though and they drove cars and lived pretty much like the rest of us.


These people acted like "terrorist' within their own community. Why should he not get the sentence that fits the crime? He is not above the laws that fit the same thing any terrorist would get. I don't think he realizes that he, too, by being the mastermind of these things, whether he welded the shears or not, isn't any better than those who did his bidding.

No, he should get what's coming to him and take it like a man. If he shows he is in the least sorry in a few years, he can plead his case in front of a parole board. Until then, go to jail and think about what you did,away from the respectful people you harmed in ways you cannot imagine. You don't seem to understand how badly you hurt these people.

Remorse is what he needs to show, and defyance and contempt for the law is all he seems to understand. I don't get that.


The Amish do not believe in or like the law so they do not respect it. The belief of the majority of the Amish is that "English" laws do not apply to them. The majority of the Amish do not want the law or government in their lives at all. The majority of the Amish feel they handle their own law breakers themselves through shunning and turning the other cheek. Many Amish who bring law enforcement or government involvement into their communities are shunned, such as those who call Children Services to investigate abuse. However, this is a good sign that things are changing within the Amish community. The very fact that they called the police and participated in the prosecution is breaking down barriers with the law and government officials. This man now needs to serve a tough sentence so he learns (and others like him)that nobody should be above the law.


Well, not really terrorism, and we should be careful about throwing around that term when it doesn't legitimately apply, because to do so trivializes Real Terrorism and thus disrespects its victims. Even the U.S. Government has had wrestled with defining terrorism and overreachs when doing so, but it's hard to justify applying the term to anything that doesn't include random victims and deadly force.

But without question this was felony assault, and in addition, the victim's civil rights were violated because, even if he had deserved punishment, he was denied his Constitutional right to due process of law. In America no private organization is sovereign; we are a democracy, and all are subject to the laws of The People through their government. The unrepentant perpetrator apparently does not yet understand that. He needs some time to reflect.


with all due respect, the term "terrorist" means a "person who uses violence to intimidate or subjugate others to maintain power" (Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, Second deluxe Edition). I believe that is just exactly what this man and his group did to try and maintain control over the people he felt did not do what he told them to do. That is exactly the definition of a terrorist. He attacked them, terrorizing them. So I don't think we have to be so careful about calling a spade a spade here.

As for his Contitutional rights being violated I do not believe that is the case. He was arrested with the charges appropriate to his crime. They were tried in court, found guilty of those charges and are now being sentenced. How can that be a denial of his civil rights of due process? What more could they possibly expect than what they were given? Any court hearing this case is due process of law. Sorry, he was not denied due process whatsoever. He deserves to go to jail and there he can "reflect" for the rest of his life.

As I said, he will have a chance at a parole hearing down the line to plead being allowed to go free. But there is NO WAY this man, without any remorse at this point in time, should be allowed to just go free at this time without going to jail right now for a LONG period of time. He thinks he did nothing wrong.

I would love to know why you think he was denied his "constituional rights of due process?" Please explain?




So... you're going to stick to your guns and insist that chopping a guy's hair off is in the same category as flying a passenger-laden jets into 100-story buildings, with the intent of causing massive destruction and death?

I tried to point out the government's difficulty in establishing a sound legal definition of terrorism and you cite .. a 1983 dictionary? If only the justice department had consulted YOU.

The way you use the dictionary, one can prove any sort of lie.

Sorry, but calling this guy a "terrorist" is just hyperbole. If you really think otherwise, please call the Dept. of Homeland Security right away - I sure they'll be embarrassed by their oversight and get on the Mullet case right away.

As for the rest of your blather, I'm afraid I have to agree, because you argue against something I didn't say. Mullet deserves everthing he's getting and maybe worse. You misread. I said the VICTIM's rights were violated.

I'm sticking to MY guns - throwing the term "terrorism" at everything you don't like is thoughtless, trivializes real terrorism, and disrespects its victims.


@ Facticious....You have to understand that in EVERY society there are "terrorist" and that term is not exclusive only to the English. That is what I meant. You seem to think that term only refers to the English Government, not to the people who live in the Mennonite communities of the Amish. This is not true. I am sticking to my "guns' as you say when it comes to this group.

For the first time, the Amish have had to deal with what they would have to consider a "terrorist group" within their own community. Yes, I said it again. It may not be a man with a jet, flying into a building. But this man, within his community, fits the bill of said terrorism. He used it to keep people in line. To rank "terror" into those lives he could. And that, by very definition, is a "terrorist". It is first time the Amish have had to deal with this within their own community.

Perhaps this clarifies it for you. I am NOT 'bantering' the word about unnecessarily. Even the Federal Government considered these people terrorist within the Amish community. Did you know that? Yes, they did.

These people were horrific. What they did went WAY beyond the norm. The worst thing you could do to another Amish man or woman, these people did.

So don't judge me to harshly on what word I used. I happen to agree with the Federal Government on their take of what these people did.

I also happen to agree with the courts on what should happen to their fearless leader. He should go to jail for the rest of his life. I have no mercy in my heart for someone who has no remorse for what he did. Especially when he thinks he had the RIGHT to violate someone's civil rights. None at all. Epecially when it includes an act of terror like this guy.

To me, he is no different than the men who flew those planes that killed all those people. And they were no more remorseful than he is.

So ends my "blather".

BW1's picture

The term carries special legal meaning these days which make it dangerous to over-apply it. The PATRIOT Act and other ill-considered legislation passed in the post-9/11 panic have rendered "terrorism" the magic incantation the federal government can now use to sweep aside the Bill of Rights, and DC actively seeks to throw everything it can into that bucket.

This was an assault, pure and simple. It wasn't part of a coordinated campaign of mass casualty events aimed at random uninvolved victims. Motive is useful in proving one committed a crime, but it has no place in determining punishment - to give it such a role is to enshrine Orwell's concept of thoughtcrime,


Hostile Amish.

Licorice Schtick

Light up his beard and hair. Would that be "light" enuff?


Their buggys on OUR highways are a menace. They need to pay US for using them.


Really? And what do you think they should pay us? Axle tax?


I hope that Samuel Mullet Sr. and his followers get a long sentence. They were like terrorists in their own neighborhood. They tried to severely shame other Amish because they did not want to live by his beliefs. The fact that some Amish contacted law enforcement shows how bad the problem was. This was no minor crime as his lawyer suggests. This was a hate crime.


That is exactly what I meant. To the other Amish in their neighborhood, he and his group were terrorists....exactly. Amish terrorist. Anyone who uses fear or creates "terror" to control someone else is considered a "terrorits" as it says in the dictonary.


Bring over Lebanon Levi and the rest of the Amish Mafia!!!!
Wondering if the picture is the real life Ohio Merlin

Good 2 B Me

Why not cut his beard as part of the punishment?


Dye it pink :)


yes, just before he starts serving that life sentence of his. LOL That should look good to his new girlfriend Bubba wouldn't it? LOL




This case was blown out of proportion to start with. Someone decided to make this into a sensational crime, because of the accused. A case of political maneuvering at the expense of these simple people.