All 7 Amish charged in beard assaults stay jailed until trial
By Peter H. Milliken
All seven Amish men charged federally with committing and conspiring to commit religiously motivated beard-cutting assaults will remain jailed without bond until their trial.
Lester S. Mullet, 26, of Hammondsville, and Levi F. and Eli M. Miller, ages 53 and 32, respectively, both of Bergholz, waived their detention hearing in federal court on Friday.
After a four-hour hearing on Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate George J. Limbert, ordered continuing detention for Samuel Mullet Sr., a 66-year old Amish bishop and father of Lester Mullet, and for two other sons of the bishop’s, Johnny S., 38, and Daniel S. 37, all of Bergholz.
On Wednesday, the magistrate also ordered continuing detention for Emanuel Schrock, 43, of Bergholz, saying he and the other defendants at the hearing were flight risks and “a danger to the Amish community.”
An affidavit filed by FBI Agent Michael S. Sirohman, who testified in Wednesday’s hearing, said Eli Miller confessed his role in the Sept. 6 attack in Mesopotamia Township in northern Trumbull County.
The other attacks, also suspected to have stemmed from a religious dispute, occurred this fall in Holmes, Carroll and Jefferson counties, the FBI said.
The offenses, in which Amish men’s beards were forcibly cut, were described by the U.S. attorney as hate crimes, and the defendants face up to a life prison term if convicted.
In the Amish religion, a man’s beard and head hair are sacred.
In Wednesday’s hearing, Bridget M. Brennan, an assistant U.S. attorney, argued for continued pre-trial detention, saying electronically-monitored house arrest was “not an option” because the defendants live in a community without electricity.
However, the four defense lawyers at the hearing argued that their clients are not flight risks because they are employed married men with children, who belong to a close-knit community and have no prior criminal records.
The U.S. Attorney said the defendants forcibly restrained multiple Amish men and cut off their beards and head hair with scissors and battery-powered clippers, injuring the victims and others who tried to stop the attacks.