MILLERSBURG, Ohio – Five men suspected of forcefully cutting the beards of fellow Amish were arraigned Wednesday and released on $50,000 bonds posted by the leader of their breakaway group.
Levi Miller, Johnny Mullet, Lester Mullet and two other men were in Holmes County Municipal Court in eastern Ohio on kidnapping and burglary charges, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (http://bit.ly/nRMIdG) reported. Miller and the Mullets had been arrested Saturday, and various media outlets reported the other two men turned themselves in Wednesday.
County prosecutor Steve Knowling told the newspaper bond was posted by Sam Mullet, the leader of their community and father of the Mullets. Jail personnel said Mullet would have paid cash or at least 10 percent to a bonding agent.
Messages seeking additional information were left by The Associated Press after business hours for Knowling, Sheriff Timothy Zimmerly and the sheriff of Jefferson County, where Miller and the Mullets were arrested.
Zimmerly has said men entered a home Oct. 3 and used scissors and battery-powered clippers to cut the beards of the 74-year-old bishop of a mainstream Amish community and his son.
Zimmerly said the men told them, "We're here for Sam Mullet to get revenge," and held them down. He said the men then went to a nearby county, where a similar attack happened.
The Amish, known for their simple, modest lifestyle, are a deeply religious group, and their beards carry spiritual significance. Amish men typically grow beards as adults and stop trimming them when they marry. The beards, and women's long hair, are held in high esteem.
Sam Mullet has said beard-cuttings are in response to criticism from other Amish religious leaders about his leadership practices. He denies ordering beard-cuttings but says he wouldn't stop them.
Hair-cutting attacks against several people have occurred in recent weeks in the area.
Ohio has an estimated Amish population of just under 61,000, with most living in rural counties south and east of Cleveland, including Holmes County, home to the world's largest Amish community.