Judge: Hanukkah stabbing suspect unfit to stand trial

Photo: Pxhere

April 21 (UPI) — A federal judge has ruled the man accused of stabbing five people at a rabbi’s home late last year is unfit to stand trial for hate-crime charges.

Judge Cathy Seibel ruled Monday following the review of a psychological report that Grafton Thomas, 37, is suffering from mental illness and ordered him to be hospitalized at a mental facility for up to four months for treatment to determine if he will regain the capacity for his criminal proceedings to continue.

“The defendant is presently suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent to the extent that he is unable to assist properly in his defense,” Seibel ruled.

Thomas faces five counts of obstructing the free exercise of religion in an attempt to kill and five counts of willfully causing bodily injury to victims because of religion in federal court for allegedly entering the Monsey, N.Y., home of a Hasidic Jewish rabbi during a Hanukkah celebration on Dec. 28 and attacking several of those present.

According to court documents, Thomas told the dozen people at the house that “no one is leaving” before attacking several of them with an 18-inch machete. Following his arrest, law enforcement discovered handwritten journals in his residence with several pages of anti-Semitic references.

Josef Neumann, 72, who was injured in the attack, died late last month from his injuries.

The ruling affects only the federal hate-crime charges. Thomas also faces attempted murder and burglary charges in Rockland County in connection to the attack, but a judge there has yet to rule on his competency to stand trial, the Rockland Journal News reported.

Thomas has pleaded not guilty to all charges.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here