The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Amish Leader, 15 Others Convicted of Hate Crimes in Beard-Cuttings

By Bill Morlin on September 20, 2012 - 4:45 pm, Posted in Hate Crime

The leader of an Amish splinter sect in Ohio and 15 of his followers were convicted of federal hate crimes today for forcibly shaving the beards and hair of breakaway members of the religious community.

Amish bishop Samuel Mullet, 66, faces a minimum of 10 years in prison when he is sentenced, likely late this year.

The case marks the first convictions in Ohio under the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act, enacted in 2009.

The verdict by a jury composed of seven men and five women came after four days of deliberations, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

Prosecutors convinced the jury that the shearing of the beards and hair of Mullets’ perceived enemies rose above the level of a simple assault to that of a religious-motivated hate crime. Those involved in the attacks and all the victims are members of the Amish faith – traditionally pacifists who usually resolve their disputes internally without law enforcement.

The beards and hair of the victims were cut to disgrace the victims as punishment for “previous and ongoing religious disagreements” with Mullet and his followers in Ohio.

Defense attorneys for the 16 defendants called no witnesses, the Cleveland newspaper reported. In closing arguments, the defense team argued that the beard-cutting didn’t meet the definition of a hate crime, which required a religious motive and bodily injury, including disfigurement, for a conviction.

The defense claimed the beard cuttings, carried out in a series of raids ordered by Mullet, were motivated by love and compassion intended to compel the victims to return to a conservative Amish lifestyle under Mullet.

There were four separate attacks, involving nine male and female victims, between Sept. 6 and Nov. 9 of 2011 in Trumbull, Holmes and Jefferson counties in Ohio, according to details contained in a 21-page superseding indictment, returned last April.

The attackers took photographs during the assaults, and, after the FBI opened an investigation, the disposable camera used was buried at the base of a tree on Mullet’s property, the indictment said. The FBI recovered the camera earlier this year with assistance for a cooperating informant.

In the first attack, nine of the defendants and other participants not indicted hired a driver on Sept. 6 and traveled from Bergholz, Ohio, in Jefferson County to a couple’s residence in Trumbull County. Participants in that attack were Eli M. Miller, Lester Miller, Raymond Miller, Freeman Burkholder, Anna Miller, Lovina Miller, Kathryn Miller, Emma Miller and Elizabeth Miller.

The second attack on a lone male victim on Sept. 24, 2011, was carried out Levi Miller, Eli M. Miller, Emanuel Shrock and others not identified who cut off the victim’s beard and hair, according to federal court documents.

The third incident occurred on Oct. 4 when five men, identified in the indictment as Johnny S. Mullet, Danny S. Mullet, Lester S. Mullet, Levi F. Miller and Eli M. Miller, entered two homes and cut the beards and hair of four victims.

The fourth and final assault occurred on Nov. 9 when a man and a woman traveled to a home near Bergholz where they had their hair forcibly removed by Emanuel and Linda Shrock after telling a sheriff earlier that day that such an attack wouldn’t occur.

  • aadila

    Aron’s right. We aren’t particularly fond of anyone.

  • Aron

    Johnny, as I am certain you are nothing more than a hit-and-runner, I will simply explain that while we do not hate anyone, per se, we certainly aren’t particularly fond of them.

    And Ezra is a troll, plain and simple. Much like yourself.

    (I eagerly await the worn-out praise of my fellow liberals for this post. I’ll be here all week.)

  • Johnny America

    What I find absolutely amusing, is how the self-proclaimed intellectuals spew hate posts at the supposed hate posters. Ironic. Try setting an example Gregory, Mitch, etc. Hating those who have different opinions than yours doesn’t solve the problem, and if you think coasting along with the politically correct makes you somehow superior to Ezra or the likes, then you are sadly mistaken. At least Ezra has the courage to stand on his own and voice an opinion that may not garner worn out liberal praise. Ezra, I’m not afraid to recognize your valid points.

  • aadila

    Adamhill seems right. But I suggest Annie is an attention seeker. Probably he was forced to comply with harsh or strict upbringing as a child, without really developing a sense of self through being allowed to experiment and play. By making these comments (probably not fully believing them himself), it creates a comforting sense of identity from the perpetual unease of not really knowing who he is (hence the various names).

    Basically, my hypothesis, informed by an often overlooked theorist in child development named Donald Winnicott, Annie didn’t really get to be a kid. So, as a young adult, he’s playing here by insulting others and his reward for this is what he got as a child: negative attention, but attention of some form. This provides a sense of self, which extremely soothing to Annie/Ezra/Jason.

    We should have compassion for him. Perhaps this message will sink in and provide a ray of hope. As Leonard Cohen sang, “everything has a crack in it, that’s how the light gets in.”

  • adamhill


    Either you actually know what the term “hate crime” really means but are feigning stupidity in a feeble attempt to further your W.N. agenda, or you actually believe the definition you are putting forth (larded with the usual false equivalencies and gibberish about media conspiracies from “the Left”) and are in fact stupid. In either case, you’re not worth taking seriously.

  • Kiwiwriter

    Annie/Jason Smith/Ezra Mead is back again!

    Complete with yet another sex change…here strictly to derail the discussion!

    So, Annie/Jason/Ezra…do tell us how the Holocaust never happened!

    Then tell us how the Russian people greeted their Nazi invaders with flowers!

    Then tell us how Norman Rockwell sided with Hitler!

    Then show us your proof that the white man is superior to the black man!

    And tell us again how you’ll prove it to us, only if we pay you vast sums of money, showing that you’re into neo-Nazism and junior Fascism for that noblest of purposes…the money!

    Then you can give us citations and evidence for all these wacky ideas!

    Until then, the tumbrels await for you!

    See? I don’t even have to think in dealing with you! I can just cut-and-paste!

    But he’s not as crazy as Bungalow Boob. He was fun.

  • Gregory

    Until “Willful Idiocy While Online” becomes a crime then JasonSmithAnnieEzra_mead et. al. have nothing to worry about.

    It is a tribute to the siteowners and moderators that they let you post the same shit with monotonous regularity. I assume they do this so that newcomers to the site can gawk at the utter stupidity of racist scumbags, an intellectual freak show if you will.

    Speaking of monotony, it has been at least three weeks since you have repeated some of the claims made in your post. That must be a new record for the Cut and Paste Brigade.

  • Mitch Beales

    Ezra_mead instead of ranting about something you know nothing about why don’t you actually read some hate crime laws and see how hate crimes are defined?

  • Aron

    Ezra my friend, you forgot to quote either the Fourteen Words or The Credo.

    You’re close, because you mentioned a ‘code phrase,’ but you could have made that post SO MUCH CRAZIER.

    Just ask my other good friends Annie* and BungaloBill.

    They know crazy.

    *Otherwise known as YOU

  • Ezra_mead

    This is stupid. Isn’t every violent act a “hate crime”? A criminal must have hateful emotions in his head while committing the act otherwise he wouldn’t do it.

    “Hate crime” charges are wrong because they are applied selectively to fit political correctness. For example, the ‘Tinley Park Five’, who attacked a group of people in a Chicago area restaurant, have not been charged with hate crimes. No one on the Left is calling for them to be charged with hate crimes. The Left likes the idea of hate crime legislation because they use it as a weapon against their political opposition. White leftists never get charged with hate crimes. The phrase “hate crime” is a code phrase.

    Whenever Blacks attack a whites it’s always referred in the media instead as a “random” crime, or the Blacks are called “youths”. Why isn’t racial mob violence categorized as “hate”? Blacks almost never get charged with hate crimes. There have been many recent cases of mobs of Blacks attacking innocent whites. The phenomenon is called “wilding”.

    A “hate crime” is like George Orwell’s “Thought Crime”. Next they’ll pass “Face Crime” legislation. If you have the wrong facial expression you could be arrested — but only if you’re white!

  • adamhill

    Maybe Mullet was trying to give these breakaway members mullets. Sorry.

    It’s good to see the Hate Crime Prevention Act continues to be enforced for this especially egregious category of crime.

  • Kiwiwriter

    You wouldn’t expect the peaceful Amish to be involved in this kind of behavior, but I guess all human beings are capable of anything.

  • Mitch Beales

    Imagine no religion. It’s easy if you try.