Jury deliberating in Ohio Amish hair-cutting trial
by John Seewer, Associated Press
September 13, 2012 11:55 AM | 105 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
An Amish man leaves the United States Court House in Cleveland Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. A jury heard closing arguments in a federal hate crimes trial involving 16 members of a breakaway Amish group who planned or took part in beard and hair cutting attacks last year because of disputes involving their bishop, Sam Mullet, and other Amish people. The jury begins deliberations Thursday morning. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
An Amish man leaves the United States Court House in Cleveland Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. A jury heard closing arguments in a federal hate crimes trial involving 16 members of a breakaway Amish group who planned or took part in beard and hair cutting attacks last year because of disputes involving their bishop, Sam Mullet, and other Amish people. The jury begins deliberations Thursday morning. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
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CLEVELAND (AP) _ Jurors are now deciding the fate of 16 people accused of hate crimes in hair- and beard-cutting attacks against fellow Amish in Ohio.

Deliberations began Thursday morning in U.S. District Court in Cleveland.

The members of a breakaway Amish settlement are accused of hate crimes in what federal prosecutors say were attacks motivated by religious differences. They say the defendants cut off Amish men’s beards and women’s hair because the hair carries spiritual significance in their faith.

Defense attorneys acknowledge that the hair-cuttings took place and that crimes were committed but contend that prosecutors are overreaching by calling them hate crimes. They told jurors to use common sense in deciding the verdict.

All the defendants could face lengthy prison terms if convicted.

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