Three elderly Mennonite women were allegedly attacked by Dereck Taylor Holt simply because of their faith and beliefs in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and continued to beat them in their Clay Township home.
According to police, Holt, 22, beat the women and used a stun gun to shock them while vandalizing their home in an hour-long attack. The suspect, who is currently in police custody, apparently had a grudge against the Mennonite religion and allegedly took his anger out on the three women, police in Lancaster County said.
On Friday, Holt seemingly broke into the Clay Township home and assaulted the women; their ages ranged from 84-90. As of Sunday, they were still hospitalized due to the hate crime.
“They suffered multiple electrical shocks, were incapacitated and left,” said North Lancaster County Regional Police Chief David Steffan. “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 man told the women he had a “rage” against Mennonites and read Bible verses while ransacking the home, police said.
Holt has been charged with ethnic intimidation, aggravated assault, burglary and other offenses for the assault
Holt did not know the women, but it appears that he targeted them because they were Mennonite, said Northern Lancaster County Regional Police Chief David Steffen.
“This is a hate crime,” Steffen told the Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era. He added that police would contact the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission on Monday regarding the assault.
The women were hospitalized and “are doing remarkably well considering their age,” Steffen added.