Ohio Amish shooter sentenced to 30 days

Marion Yoder received punishment for the December 2011 shooting of an Amish girl in Holmes County on Tuesday. A recap of what happened:

Yoder was clearing a round out of his .50-caliber muzzle-loading rifle following a hunting trip when he fired a shot into the air, authorities said. More than a mile away, Rachel Yoder was driving the buggy home from a Christmas party southwest of Canton when she was struck by the round, they said. The two are not related.

Rachel Yoder died from her wounds a day after the incident.  On Tuesday Yoder pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and was given a 180-day term. The judge suspended all but a month’s worth of time, however. He also received 3 years of probation.

Yoder originally faced felony reckless homicide, but Rachel Yoder’s family did not want prosecution to pursue felony charges, which probably influenced how the case played out.  Initial reports were that he could have faced several years in prison.  So it seems the punishment in terms of jail time is comparatively very light. Of course jail time is not the only penalty Marion Yoder faces here.

 Beard-cutting federal hate crimes trial

In other legal news, the trial of Sam Mullet and 15 members of his church for the beard and hair cutting attacks is finishing up in Cleveland.  During the trial a number of witnesses took the stand for the prosecution, though none testified for the defense.

Over the two-week case the prosecution has attempted to show the attacks were religiously motivated, and to tie them to Sam Mullet.  The defense has maintained that the hair cutting incidents were motivated by love for “deviant” members or forces other than the group’s leader.  Jury deliberations begin today.

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    9 Comments

    1. OldKat

      30 Days?

      Thirty days in jail sort of surprses me. Granted it was clearly an accident and the young man did step forward right away to admit what he had done. That said, a sentence of thirty days seems very light when you consider that a young woman died as the result of his actions.

    2. Moira

      30 Days

      I think the sentence was fair. This was clearly an accident and though a very unfortunate one, the young man owned up to it. He’s obviously not some cocky thug that thinks nothing of taking someone’s life. I really admire the victims family for not pursuing felony charges – how many English would be so forgiving? Not too many that I know.

    3. Alice Mary

      Just punishment

      I agree with Moira. Though foolish (at least in retrospect), the intent was not to kill. To me, it was certainly accidental. Thirty days away from his family, unable to contribute to their income will prove a hardship (and it’s not likely that tax dollars will be spent on “food stamps” or other forms of socialized “welfare” for his family while he serves his term).

      During his 3 year probation, I am sure he will always think before ever discharging a weapon again.

      Since the young woman’s family did not press charges, the outcome sounds fair. Still, it was a needless tragedy that could have been avoided with some forethought.

      Alice Mary

    4. Forest

      I expect he is going to have a burden to bear for the rest of his life that will be a heavier punishment than any prison term would have been. Time in prison would not serve any purpose in this particular case, I don’t think.

      Now in Mullet’s case, since what they did was deliberate, and they show no remorse, and would likely do it again if released, I think should cool their heels a while as guests of the state…. If they keep it up, someone will eventually get hurt; maybe not intentionally, but it will end up happening….

    5. Wm Justice

      I would like to weigh in on this subject without comment on the sentence this gentleman received as that is a court’s decision and not mine.
      One of the first things my father, a WWII era US Cavalry officer, taught me when instructing me on the use of a firearm was that any round discharged has a target. Therefore, know your target before the trigger is pulled. If you don’t know the target, then don’t pull the trigger. I have always embraced that as the basic and most fundamental tenet of firearm safety.
      That said, this tragedy could have been avoided by simply firing the rifle into the ground rather than at an unknown target and subsequent victim.
      My prayer is that such an avoidable and grievous death never, ever be repeated. And my prayers of comfort go out to Marion Yoder for his unfortunate mistake and to the family of Rachel Yoder for their loss.

    6. Ed

      Beard cutting case

      Indeed, I think we are all waiting to hear the jury’s decision in the beard-cutting case. Personally I wish the group was charged with assault rather than “hate crimes”.

      Meanwhile – does anyone know if Amish ever serve on juries themselves? Does not having driver’s license or registering to vote effectively preclude them from serving? It would seem appropriate that a ‘jury of one’s peers’ inculde Amish.

      1. I cant say that it has never happened in the Amish, but the teaching among conservative Anabaptists is to not serve on juries. This would also be the position even in the more liberal, car-driving groups like the “Beachy Amish.”
        The idea is the separation of church and state (two kingdoms): The state maintains public order in its manner (with force and punishment), and the church maintains Christ’s order in its manner (example and verbal reproof, as well as withdrawal from the wayward if they continue in their waywardness). But the church is not to use punishments (whippings, imprisonment, fines,—nor forced hair cuttings!) to maintain order within the community of believers.

    7. Forest

      Our Conservative Mennonite conference does not allow jury service, so I would think few, if any, Amish churches would allow it either, for the reasons stated by the gentleman above.

    8. Lissa

      I am a member of the Old German Baptist Church and we don’t serve on juries either.