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hate crime

Hanukkah Stabbing Suspect Indicted on New Federal Hate Crime Charges

Grafton Thomas, 37, was also indicted last Friday on six counts of attempted murder, three counts of assault, three counts of attempted assault and two counts of burglary

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What to Know

  • A federal grand jury in Manhattan returned an indictment on Thursday of the suspect in the Hanukkah stabbings in Rockland County, a law enforcement source tells News 4 New York
  • Grafton Thomas, 37, was previously charged by the U.S. Attorney’s office with allegedly obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs resulting in bodily injury in connection to the Dec. 28, 2019, stabbings in Monsey, New York
  • Thursday’s indictment incorporates the original charges and adds charges alleging Thomas targeted the victims because of their religion; he also faces charges of murder, assault and burglary

A federal grand jury in Manhattan indicted the suspect in the Hanukkah stabbings in Rockland County of federal hate crime charges, a law enforcement source tells News 4 New York.

Grafton Thomas, 37, was previously charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with allegedly obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs resulting in bodily injury in connection to the Dec. 28, 2019, stabbings at a crowded rabbi's home in the Orthodox community of Monsey, New York. 

The indictment charges Thomas with five counts each of attempting to kill victims based on their religion and obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs by attempting to kill with a dangerous weapon.

"We now allege that he did this with the intention of targeting his victims because of their religion," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a news release. "Thomas faces life in prison for his alleged violent acts of prejudice and intolerance."

Thursday’s indictment also incorporates the original state charges Thomas faces, including six counts of attempted murder, three counts of assault, three counts of attempted assault and two counts of burglary. He faces up to 25 years in prison, his lawyer previously confirmed to News 4.

He is being held without bail on the federal charges. A message was sent to Thomas' defense attorney, Michael Sussman, seeking comment.

"This was an extremely brutal attack," Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Walsh said in a statement last week. There were previously said to be five victims, but Walsh's statement said Thomas allegedly slashed "at least six individuals."

Thomas' lawyer Michael Sussman maintains that Thomas is not anti-Semitic, but mentally ill and in need of treatment. Thomas' mother, who is a nurse in the Bronx, has previously said her son had been off his medications since October, although she checks on him to make sure he is taking them.

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