Hanukkah stabbing suspect indicted on new hate crime charges

Six people were stabbed during a Hanukkah celebration at a rabbi's home.

January 9, 2020, 1:56 PM

A man suspected of stabbing Jewish people with a machete during a Hanukkah party has been indicted on five new charges of targeting victims because of their religious beliefs.

On Dec. 28, a group of Hasidic Jews were gathered at Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg's home in Monsey, New York, to celebrate Hanukkah when Grafton Thomas allegedly forced his way inside, slashing six people with an 18-inch machete.

"I will never forget the horror of that night," Rottenberg said at New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's State of the State address Wednesday.

PHOTO: People gather at Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg's residence in Monsey, N.Y., Dec. 29, 2019.
People gather at Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg's residence in Monsey, N.Y., Dec. 29, 2019.
Jeenah Moon/Reuters
PHOTO: Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg shakes hands with people in Monsey, New York, Dec. 29, 2019.
Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg shakes hands with people in Monsey, New York, Dec. 29, 2019.
Jeenah Moon/Reuters

One of the injured, a senior congregant and family friend, "remains in extremity critical condition," Rottenberg said.

With the five new charges, Thomas faces a total of 10 federal hate crimes.

PHOTO: Thomas Grafton, the suspect in Hanukkah celebration stabbings in Monsey, leaves the Ramapo Town Hall in Airmont, New York after being arrested on Dec. 29, 2019.
Thomas Grafton, the suspect in Hanukkah celebration stabbings in Monsey, leaves the Ramapo Town Hall in Airmont, New York after being arrested on Dec. 29, 2019.
Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

At Thomas' home, investigators recovered journals containing anti-Semitic sentiments, including references to Hitler and "Nazi Culture" "on the same page as drawings of a Star of David and a Swastika," according to court documents.

On the day of the attack, according to court documents, Thomas' phone was used to access an article called, "New York City Increases Police Presence in Jewish Neighborhoods After Possible Anti-Semitic Attacks. Here's What To Know."

He is set to be arraigned on the new indictment Monday.

Thomas was also indicted last week on six counts of second-degree attempted murder, three counts of first-degree assault, three counts of first-degree attempted assault and two counts of first-degree burglary.

Defense attorney Michael Sussman said Thomas, 37, has "severe psychiatric issues" and "never received the treatment he needed."

Thomas' family said in a statement he "has no known history of anti-Semitism and was raised in a home which embraced and respected all religions and races."

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