"He is in the hands of a righteous judge"

"He is in the hands of a righteous judge" January 24, 2011

From Pennsylvania comes this rare story of an Amish man who, driven by madness, killed his wife;  now, after taking his own life, he’s been buried beside her in an Amish cemetery.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

There is fresh grave in the Amish cemetery, next to the one where Katie Gingerich has lain since her murder in 1993. It belongs to her killer and husband, Edward Gingerich, who was 44 when he hanged himself Jan. 14.

His burial within the community that had shunned him after the killing is a gesture of conciliation that remains as bitterly disputed as his life had been. Amish were pitted against Amish over how to respond to a murderer who everyone agreed was psychotic when he killed his wife. It was the only known case of a homicide committed by an Amishman.

Before his death, relatives who had reconciled with him after his shunning once again cut all contact in obedience to the leaders of the Brownhill Amish community in Rockdale, Crawford County. While shunning can be less severe, the Brownhill Amish banned almost all contact with him.

“He was depressed that he couldn’t see his kids, who couldn’t come see him on pain of being shunned themselves,” said George Schroeck, a non-Amish friend with whom he was living.

“I don’t doubt that there might have been some guilt feelings [in the Brownhill Amish] and that’s what got him into the graveyard. But this little reconciliation — to take a corpse back — it would have been much better had they taken the living Ed back and treated him with some Christian kindness,” he said.

Jim Fischer, a retired criminal justice professor who wrote the book “Crimson Stain” about the murder, is more sympathetic to the Brownhill Amish. They knew what he was capable of but their faith forbade them to defend themselves if he went on another rampage, he said. They had no phones to call for help.

“Those who have accused the Brownhill Amish of being cold-hearted and unforgiving because they excommunicated him are wrong,” he said. “They have forgiven Ed, they just haven’t forgotten what he did. That violent homicide left them fearful.

Read the rest.

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