The leader of 16 Amish men and women found guilty of hate crimes for cutting the hair and beards of fellow members of their faith has lost another request to be released from prison.
CLEVELAND - The jury in a federal hate crimes trial is set to begin deciding the fate of 16 people accused in haircutting attacks against fellow Amish in Ohio.
Deliberations begin Thursday morning in U.S. District Court in Cleveland.
The members of a breakaway Amish settlement are accused of hate crimes in what federal prosecutors say were attacks motivated by religious differences. They say the defendants cut off Amish men's beards and women's hair because the hair carries spiritual significance in their faith.
Defense attorneys acknowledge the haircuttings took place and that crimes were committed but contend that prosecutors are overreaching by calling them hate crimes. They told jurors to use common sense in deciding the verdict.
All of the defendants could face lengthy prison terms if convicted.
One of 16 Amish convicted in beard-cutting attacks on fellow Amish in Ohio has a few days to say her goodbyes before heading to prison.