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Why Eli Stutzman fascinates

The body of ex-Amishman Eli Stutzman – convicted of one murder, suspected in four others – lies in a Texas morgue, unclaimed by his former Ohio Amish community.

Stutzman’s DNA may be the case-breaker in the 1985 deaths of two Colorado men.

Gregg Olsen, author of Abandoned Prayers, commented on the case which has hounded him for the past 20 years.

Olsen shares an interesting idea – if Ida (Stutzman’s wife and supposed first victim) hadn’t been Amish, there would have been a full investigation of her death.

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We often perceive the Amish as above blame. As many Amish and ex-Amish insist, however, they are just like the rest of the world.

But not exactly.

Violent crime such as murder is rare in Amish society.

In the 250-year-old Lancaster County settlement, the only other killing in memory (besides the Nickel Mines shootings) occurred when an Amish woman was murdered by a non-Amish neighbor in 1982.

Why does the Amish-violence mix get so much attention?

The Amish are famously non-resistant.

One Amishman, in demonstrating principles of non-violence,  submitted to massacre by Indians in the 18th century.

Amish took physical and verbal abuse as conscientious objectors during the World Wars.

It’s the seeming incongruities, like Amish and violent crime, that get attention.

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    4 Comments

    1. Thanks Charles for posting this article…It really must be a shock–being around someone so outwardly meek and friendly, as I understand Stutzman to be, then finding out in the way that you did that he held such a secret.

      It must be pretty heavy for you, I imagine.

      What do you think about his death? Some are speculating that it wasn’t a suicide. Seems like he prepared for just that however. I wonder what will come of the remaining questions in this case…

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    3. MICHAEL CIALONE

      The surviving members of Eli and Ida Stutzman

      I have oftend wondered how Eli’s father and family and Ida’s family —how are they doing now ? His father and mother, like many God fearing parents, did everything to assist Eli and his wife and little boy. They all did the best they could. From reading this prolific book—-I am very dissapointed that the friends and acquaintances of Eli were not dealt with—–they saw with their own eyes the immorality that the little boy was forced to witness, day in and day out. What a tragedy that Ida Stutzman and her unborn child were just left in a graveyard……where is the justice for this poor mother and child ?

    4. Thank you for posting this, Charles…Being around someone as ostensibly meek and affable as I believe Stutzman to be, and then discovering that he harbored such a secret, must be quite shocking.