CLEVELAND (AP) — Sixteen men and women who rejected lenient plea deals are facing lengthy prison terms for their convictions in the hair- and beard- cutting attacks on fellow Amish in Ohio.
The defendants, with about 50 children between them and including six couples, were convicted Thursday in U.S. District Court after 4½ days of deliberations. Some could get sentences of 20 years or more.
A federal jury found 66-year-old Samuel Mullet Sr., the leader of a breakaway Amish group, guilty of orchestrating the cuttings last fall in an attempt to shame mainstream members 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 say they targeted hair because it carries spiritual significance in their faith.