Hanukkah Stabbing Suspect Grafton Thomas Unfit for Federal Trial, Judge Says

Thomas allegedly slashed at least five people at a crowded rabbi's home in Monsey last December

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The man accused of a stabbing spree at a rabbi's home last Hanukkah is mentally unfit to stand federal trial on hate-crime charges, a judge ruled Monday.

Grafton Thomas was previously indicted by a federal grand jury in connection to the Dec. 28, 2019, stabbings at a crowded rabbi's home in the Orthodox community of Monsey, New York. 

Judge Cathy Seibel ruled Monday that "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." She ordered him to be hospitalized in a mental facility for up to four months, following which his status will be reviewed again.

Monday's ruling affects only the federal charges, and not the separate state charges that Thomas faces. The Rockland County District Attorney's Office said it is reviewing Judge Seibel's ruling and its effect on their prosecution plans.

Thomas' lawyer Michael Sussman has maintained 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.

One of the attack victims, Josef Neumann, died late last month of his injuries.

Copyright NBC New York/Associated Press
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