Amish jury leaves without reaching a verdict

3:58 PM, Sep 14, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- The federal jury in the trial of 16 Amish defendants went home Friday about 5 p.m. without reaching a verdict.

Friday was Day Two of deliberations, deliberations that now total 16 hours.

Court will resume Tuesday at 9 a.m., as Monday is off due to the Jewish New Year holiday.

All 16 defendants are accused of conspiracy in a total of five attacks on nine fellow Amish between September and November last year.

Various defendants, including Bergholz clan leader Samuel Mullet Sr., are accused of federal hate crimes for cutting off the hair of two Amish women and the beards and hair of seven Amish men in those attacks.

Mullet Sr., 66, who is also accused of lying to the FBI and destroying evidence, is the head of the breakaway Amish group of about 21 families who live on Mullet's 880-acre farm in Bergholz, located about 100 miles southeast of Cleveland in Jefferson County.

Federal prosecutors allege that Mullet Sr. encouraged members of his clan -- nine men and six women -- to punish the victims by cutting off their hair and beards. In the Amish religion, men do not cut their hair or beards after they marry and Amish women do not cut their hair after they are married.

The cutting was allegedly done to disgrace and humiliate the victims. Each of the defendants have their own federal public defenders and those attorneys maintain that the "attacks" were nothing more than family feuds, not hate crimes. 

WKYC-TV

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