Beard Bandits Exclusive: Is there a cult in Amish country?
They're known as the beard bandits -- a group accused of terrorizing the Amish community by cutting the beards and hair of those who opposed their leader.
Sam Mullet is the man the FEDS say is behind the beard bandits. For the very first time someone from inside Sam Mullet's crazy world is speaking out exclusively to 19 Action News reporter Scott Taylor.
Sam Mullet's world, some call it a cult, exists on 800 acres in Bergholz, OH. It's where he lives with his children and other followers.
"I think he has a way of brain washing you to do what he wants you to do," said Tonya Mullet.
Tonya Mullet, Sam's daughter-in-law, is speaking out for the very first time about what's it like to live in Sam Mullet's world.
"I believe if he told somebody to go out and murder for him, they would do it," said Tonya Mullet.
Sam Mullet and six others including some of his own sons are now facing federal hate crimes. Investigators say the group shaved the beards and cut the hair of Amish who refused to support Sam Mullet.
Tonya Mosley became Tonya Mullet in 1994 at the age of 16 when she married Sam Mullet's son, William.
She was quickly taught the way's of Sam's world.
"They wanted me to forget I ever had any family out here," said Tonya Mullet.
Sam's world includes beatings and much worse according to Federal Court documents. Sam would have his follower's wives live with him in order to be counseled on how to be sexually satisfied in their marriages.
"He has the woman believing he's some God. He is sleeping with daughter-in-laws. He is sleeping with other women," said Tonya Mullet.
Investigators call Sam the leader of this community and members have to obey Sam. Tonya says if you didn't agree with Sam Mullet he would try and break you.
"They would put two chairs in the middle of the floor and have Bill and I on those chairs and have any where from 15 to 20 chairs in a circle around us and make us sit that way all night long," said Tonya Mullet.
Tonya left Sam's world over a disagreement about medical treatment for one of her and Williams' seven children. She admits to a criminal past including an OVI conviction and was once addicted to pain medication.
Tonya and William have split. He has the kids. William does not live on his father's compound and belongs to another church.
Tonya says Sam also held people hostage in their own homes.
Even though she's out of Sam's world Tonya is still afraid of Sam Mullet. 19 Action News was able to get a message to Sam through his lawyer about Tonya's allegations. So far he hasn't responded but in the past he has said he's not part of a cult.
"He is an evil man and I think he needs to be put away for a long time," said Tonya Mullet.
Tonya believes Sam and his followers on those 800 acres of land are capable of anything.
"He said he had a lot of land and could do away with me and I would never be found," said Tonya Mullet.
Sam Mullet has not been found guilty of anything. He remains locked up and will be back in court on Wednesday, January 11th.
Saturday, August 30 2014 7:17 PM EDT2014-08-30 23:17:41 GMT
A nine-year-old girl accidentally shot and killed her instructor at a shooting range in Arizona earlier this week, and now people are wondering what the right age is for kids to be shooting guns. BuddyMore >>
After a nine year old girl accidentally shot and killed her instructor at a shooting range in Arizona, local shooting range owners and experienced shooters talk about safety measures when out shooting a gun.More >>
Friday, August 29 2014 4:33 PM EDT2014-08-29 20:33:42 GMT
South Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating a fatal wreck on Gun Range Road, between Wire Road and Highway 1.Troopers responded just after 1 p.m, according to the SCHP database.Additional details areMore >>
The Aiken Co. Coroner's Office confirmed Willis L. Purvis, 55, was returning home on his Suzuki motorcycle when he lost control of it, and was ejected. More >>
Friday, August 29 2014 4:06 PM EDT2014-08-29 20:06:26 GMT
The Red Cross of Augusta is offering safety tips for this Labor Day weekend. Experts say if you're packing up and heading out of town, bring even the things you think you won't need just in case. "MakeMore >>
The Red Cross of Augusta is offering safety tips for this Labor Day weekend.More >>
3933 Washington Road
Augusta, GA 30907