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Man charged in Mennonite attack

LANCASTER, Pa. – A 22-year-old man attacked three elderly Mennonite sisters because of their faith, shocking them with a stun gun and vandalizing their home during an hourslong ordeal, police said Sunday.

Dereck Taylor Holt was charged with aggravated assault, ethnic intimidation, burglary and other offenses for the assault in rural central Pennsylvania that sent all three women to the hospital, according to police.

Holt did not know the women, but it appears he targeted them because they were Mennonite, said Northern Lancaster County Regional Police Chief David Steffen.

Holt railed against the religion during the attack, reading various passages from their Bible and then damaging it, police said.

“This is a hate crime,” Steffen told the Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era. He added that police will contact the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission today regarding the assault.

Holt, who has no fixed address, was arrested Saturday. He was being held on $1 million bail.

Holt told the women that he is a former Mennonite, police said.


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