Elderly Mennonite Women Attacked in Apparent Hate Crime - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Elderly Mennonite Women Attacked in Apparent Hate Crime

Suspect charged with ethnic intimidation, assault, burglary & related charges for Lancaster Co. incident



    Elderly Mennonite Women Attacked in Apparent Hate Crime

    Police say three elderly Mennonite women were tied up and attacked with a stun gun, during a violent home invasion near Lancaster.

    The attack happened Friday morning on the 300 block of Indiantown Road in Clay Township, according to LancasterOnline.com.

    The victims, who are between 84 and 90 years old, were found several hours later by a relative.
    They remained hospitalized Sunday.

    Police say Dereck Taylor Holt, 22, posed as an insurance salesman to gain access into the home on Friday, according to investigators.

    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 Lancaster Online. He added that police will contact the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission on Monday regarding the assault.

    Holt allegedly attacked two of the sisters, then a third who returned home as the assault was in progress. The women were punched, shocked and tied up, according to police.

    "They suffered multiple electrical shocks, were incapacitated and left," Steffen told the newspaper. "They were unable to move for a long period of time. That could have led to bad things like blood clots and positional asphyxia."

    The women were hospitalized and "are doing remarkably well considering their age," Steffen said.

    Holt also allegedly ransacked the house and poured household chemicals on floors and furniture. He fled the brick, ranch-style house about three hours after he arrived, police said; the victims were discovered by a relative a few hours after that.

    Holt, who has no fixed address, was arrested Saturday under circumstances that have not been disclosed. Holt was charged with 21 total counts including aggravated assault, ethnic intimidation, burglary and other offenses for the alleged assault in rural central Pennsylvania.

    He was being held on $1 million bail and it was not immediately clear if he had an attorney. 


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