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Amish Suspects Freed on Bond

Group’s leader posts $50,000 for their release

October 14, 2011
By MARK LAW For The Intelligencer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

STEUBENVILLE - Five Amish men accused of cutting the hair and beards off other Amish people in Holmes County, Ohio, returned to Jefferson County after their bonds were posted Thursday.

Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said Sam Mullet, leader of the Bergholz Amish community, posted $50,000 in Holmes County to secure their release.

Three men extradited from Jefferson County and two other Amish men who turned themselves in were arraigned Wednesday in Holmes County Municipal Court on charges of aggravated burglary and kidnapping. Johnny Mullet, 38; Levi Miller, 53; and Lester S. Mullet, 26, waived extradition from Jefferson County to Holmes County on Tuesday. Two additional men from the Bergholz community, Daniel Mullet, 37, and Eli Miller, 32, turned themselves in to the Holmes County Sheriff's Department on Wednesday.

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Sam Mullet, leader of a breakaway Amish group in Bergholz, Ohio, has posted $50,000 to secure the release of five men accused in a four-county string of beard-cutting incidents.

Abdalla said he told the men they were wanted and to surrender to the Holmes County Sheriff's Department.

A preliminary hearing for the men is set for 11 a.m. Oct. 19 in Holmes County.

Sheriff's departments in four Eastern Ohio counties are investigating incidents in which men and women had hair and beards cut off in an apparent religious issue involving the Bergholz Amish community.

Th men charged were returning from a horse auction on Oct. 4 when they told their driver to go to a home in Holmes County, Abdalla said. The men allegedly burst into the home and cut the hair off men and women inside and cut the beards off the men. Holmes County Sheriff Timothy Zimmerly said the victims included a 13-year-old girl and a 74-year-old man.

The men arrested allegedly went to Carroll County the same day and participated in another hair and beard-cutting incident, Abdalla said. He said the incident in Carroll County will be presented to a grand jury.

There were reported hair and beard-cutting incidents in Trumbull and Jefferson counties as well, but the victims have been reluctant to file charges, Abdalla said.

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