Hanukkah stabbing suspect indicted in 'violent and heinous crime'

Six people were stabbed during a Hanukkah celebration in Monsey, New York.

January 03, 2020, 3:01 PM

A grand jury in Rockland County, New York, has returned an indictment against Grafton Thomas in connection with a machete attack at a rabbi's home during Hanukkah, prosecutors said.

On Dec. 28, Hasidic Jews had gathered at the home in Monsey to celebrate Hanukkah when Thomas allegedly forced his way inside, swinging an 18-inch machete. Six people were slashed, including Josef Neumann, a father of seven who has been unconscious since the attack.

Thomas was indicted 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, Rockland County District Attorney Tom Walsh said Friday.

PHOTO: A member of the Ramapo police stands guard in front of the house of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg on Dec. 29, 2019 in Monsey, New York, the day after five people were injured in a knife attack during a Hanukkah party.
A member of the Ramapo police stands guard in front of the house of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg on Dec. 29, 2019 in Monsey, New York, the day after five people were injured in a knife attack during a Hanukkah party.
Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

In the wake of this "violent and heinous crime," Walsh said, "we must restore peace. This is the first stop in the process."

"This investigation is not over," Walsh added. "Hard work will continue, but rest assured, we're making progress."

An arraignment on the indictment is pending, prosecutors said.

PHOTO: Suspect in Hanukkah celebration stabbings Grafton Thomas, leaves the Ramapo Town Hall in Ramapo Town Hall in  Airmont, N.Y., Dec. 29, 2019.
Suspect in Hanukkah celebration stabbings Grafton Thomas, leaves the Ramapo Town Hall in Ramapo Town Hall in Airmont, N.Y., Dec. 29, 2019.
Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images

Thomas also is charged with federal hate crimes and is being held at a federal facility.

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 the federal complaint.

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

Defense attorney Michael Sussman said Thomas has "severe psychiatric issues" and has had psychiatric hospitalizations.

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."

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events