New York Hanukkah stabbing suspect charged with five more hate crimes

Grafton Thomas was indicted on charges of targeting, with the intent to kill, the victims of the Monsey, New York, attack because of their religion.

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By Doha Madani

The man accused of stabbing five people during a Hanukkah celebration at a rabbi's home in Monsey, New York, was charged with additional federal hate crimes Thursday.

The man, Grafton Thomas, 37, was charged with targeting with the intent to kill the victims because of their religion, according to an indictment handed up in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Thomas was charged in federal court in December with five counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs, in addition to charges of attempted murder and burglary filed by the state. He has pleaded not guilty to the state charges.

An attorney for Thomas was not immediately available for comment.

Prosecutors allege that Thomas barged into the rabbi's home as a group was observing the seventh night of Hanukkah, his face covered with what appeared to be a scarf, according to a criminal complaint.

He told the dozens gathered in the home that "no one is leaving" and attacked them with a machete, authorities said. Victims' injuries included a severed finger, slash wounds and deep lacerations, they said.

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Investigators found handwritten journals in Thomas' home that contained anti-Semitic writings, including writings about "Nazi culture" and "Adolf Hitler" and a drawing of a swastika, a federal criminal complaint said.

Michael H. Sussman, Thomas' attorney, has said that his client could be described as mentally ill, that he was hospitalized multiple times in 2019 and that he was on a variety of medications. Thomas' family said in a statement that he had "a long history of mental illness and hospitalizations."