Watch CBSN Live

Amish Beard-Cutting Trial: Jury selection begins for 16 people in Ohio

In this Oct. 19, 2011 file photo, from left: Johnny Mullet, Lester Mullet, Daniel Mullet, Levi Miller and Eli Miller wait to make their pleas in Holmes County Municipal Court in Millersburg, Ohio. Wooster Daily Record,AP Photo/Mike Schenck

(CBS/AP) CLEVELAND - Jury selection in the trial of 16 people charged with hates crimes in hair-cutting attacks on fellow Amish got under way Monday morning in Cleveland. 

Pictures: Amish men charged in beard-cutting attacks

Among those who are charged are the leader of a breakaway Amish group and four of his children who all live in eastern Ohio.

Prosecutors say some of the suspects forcibly cut the beards and hair of Amish men and women last fall. Authorities say the attacks were motivated by religious differences.

According to CBS Cleveland, prosecutors say potential evidence in the trial will include horse mane shears allegedly used in the attacks as well as a camera allegedly used to photograph the victims' appearances, hair from the victims and transcripts of jailhouse calls by some of the defendants.

Additional exhibits outlined in a government filing Friday include letters from one of 16 defendants and video and audio recordings of interviews with other defendants.

Some of the defendants face prison terms of 20 years or more if convicted. They earlier turned down plea bargain offers that would have carried much shorter sentences.

The group's leader contends that they should be allowed to handle what they see as internal church disciplinary matters.

Complete coverage of Amish beard-cutting attacks on Crimesider

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.