Sam MulletAmish Bergholz Convicts along with the seven remaining imprisoned members of the Bergholz community have just received shorter sentences for their roles in the 2011 beard-cutting attacks. From the report:

Mullet’s 15-year sentence was reduced to 10 years, nine months. Sentences for four men who received seven years were cut to five years. Sentences for three men who got five years were lowered to three years, seven months.

The other eight, including six women, have served their sentences.

Doing my own math: barring further twists in this case, and assuming the roughly three years already served count against the new sentence, Mullet will be scheduled for release sometime in 2022 when he is 76 years old.

UPDATE: I asked Donald Kraybill, who served as an expert witness at the 2012 trial, for his thoughts on the resentencing. He replies:

I guess I’m not surprised at the outcome. Defense attorneys had argued that all of the defendants should be released because the hate crimes no longer applied. The prosecutors argued the opposite, saying given the nature of the crimes and the intent, etc., that the judge had not followed the maximum guidelines in the first place and that the length of the terms should not be reduced.

It’s my impression that in this case the federal district judge (who had originally presided over the trial in September 2012) had considerable discretion to decide the final outcome today. In essence he walked a middle road; reducing everyone’s length of sentence, but assuring that all the men with serious charges and especially Mullet need to do additional time in prison. A number of these men with longer sentences had been arrested and imprisoned in November 2011. So some of them have already served three years and three months.

I’m certain that that amount of time served will be reduced from the time of the length of the new sentences determined today. Those who were afraid that Sam Mullet might be released soon and again pose a danger to the community can still rest in peace for several years.

Image: WKYC-TV

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