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Court overturns convictions in Amish hair attacks

The father of two Amish girls abducted in northern New York last week says it's sad the two suspects "must have ruined their whole life." Stephen Howells Jr. and Nicole Vaisey have been charged with kidnapping with the intent to physically or sexually abuse the girls. (Mark Wilson, 2014 Getty Images)
The father of two Amish girls abducted in northern New York last week says it's sad the two suspects "must have ruined their whole life." Stephen Howells Jr. and Nicole Vaisey have been charged with kidnapping with the intent to physically or sexually abuse the girls. (Mark Wilson, 2014 Getty Images)
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Updated: 8/27 12:01 pm

CINCINNATI (AP) — An appeals court has overturned hate-crime convictions of 16 Amish found guilty in beard- and hair-cutting attacks on fellow members of their faith in Ohio.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Wednesday sided with arguments brought by attorneys for the Amish, found guilty two years ago in five attacks in Ohio Amish communities in 2011. The attacks were in apparent retaliation against Amish who had defied or denounced the authoritarian style of leader Sam Mullet Sr.

Mullet was of accused orchestrating the cuttings in an attempt to shame mainstream members who he believed were straying from their beliefs.

Prosecutors called the attacks hate crimes because religious differences brought about the attacks.

The defense had said there was insufficient evidence linking Mullet to the hair-cutting.

 

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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