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Feds ask for life in prison for leader of Amish group

| Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, 6:54 p.m.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Federal prosecutors want a life sentence for the leader of an Amish breakaway group convicted in a series of beard- and hair-cutting attacks, saying it's highly unlikely the attacks would have happened without his involvement.

Samuel Mullet Sr. not only orchestrated the attacks, but he held absolute control over the members of his Amish settlement in eastern Ohio near the West Virginia Panhandle, prosecutors said in court documents filed on Tuesday.

Mullet, 67, is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday in U.S. District Court in Cleveland along with 15 others convicted in the hair-cuttings who live in the settlement. His attorney last week asked for a sentence of 18 months to two years.

The government said the cuttings were an attempt to shame members of the Amish community who Mullet believed were straying from their beliefs. His followers were found guilty of carrying out the attacks, which prosecutors say targeted hair because it carries spiritual significance in the Amish faith.

The Amish eschew many conveniences of modern life, including electrical appliances and automobiles, and embrace their centuries-old roots. They believe the Bible instructs women to let their hair grow long and for men to grow beards and stop shaving once they marry.

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