Photo: Lew Stamp via The Daily
A strange story hit the news wires last year when a group of Ohio Amish were accused of cutting the beards or hair of fellow community members.The attacks took place in Bergholz, Ohio, on a commune started by Bishop Samuel Mullet Jr. Mullet and 14 of his followers are awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of hate crimes and conspiracy.
In his only interview, M.L. Nestel and Jebediah Reed sat down with Mullet in prison, and got his side of the story for The Daily. It’s crazier than anything you might see on “Amish Mafia.”
The road to prison began for Mullet back in 1995, when he left Fredericktown, Ohio, for an 800-acre property near Bergholz, a tiny town about 100 miles south of Cleveland. He thought the Fredericktown Amish community was getting too lax. Women weren’t dressing appropriately, teenagers were listening to boom boxes in their buggies, and, as he told The Daily: “The girls were having their dates in their beds—most of the time in their birthday suits, if you know what I mean.”
That’s just the start of what Mullet had to say:
- His fellow inmates call him “O.G.”—because, despite being a 67-year old Amish guy, he’s proven to be something of a jailhouse badass, standing up to bullies and protecting his friends (e.g. a gay tax evader and feared murderer).
- But he has a softer side: He sings traditional Amish hymns in his cell block after lights-out. The other prisoners love it and request specific songs.
- Federal prosecutors say he ran his breakoff Amish sect like a sex cult, but Mullet tells us that he was more of “an Amish Dr. Ruth”—dispensing bedroom advice to couples in need. (He is, for the record, strongly opposed to doggy-style sex.)
- Strangely enough, he’s become a multi-millionaire while behind bars by selling fracking rights on his farm.
The beard cutting is just a sliver of what makes Mullet’s tale intriguing, but it’s the portion that could send him to jail for almost two decades.
He and his sons went to the home of Raymond Hershberger, a bishop rival of Mullet’s in October of 2011. After they were invited inside to talk, the “Bergholz” boys held the 77-year-old bishop down and used battery-operated clippers and horse-tail cutting shears to cut his beard and chunks of his hair.
They were arrested and tried under the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, due to the religious nature of the attacks. Because they turned down a plea agreement, they face a minimum of 17 and a half years to life in prison,
Mullet has made the best of prison. After realising the food upset his stomach, he figured out what to make for himself, sticking to peanut butter and jelly or salad sandwiches. He sings Christian hymns in his cell, which earned him favour from other inmates.
Since The Daily spoke to Mullet, he and the rest of his gang have been reunited and now live in the same prison pod. Their sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 8, 2013.
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