Condition of New York Chanukah stabbing victim improves

The 72-year-old has opened his eyes and is breathing on his own.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News Staff

The condition of a victim in the New York stabbing attack last Chanukah is improving, reported Yeshiva World News on Tuesday.

According to the report, Josef Neumann has opened his eyes and is breathing on his own.

“Doctors are not optimistic about his chances to regain consciousness, and if our father does miraculously recover partially, doctors expect that he will have permanent damage to the brain; leaving him partially paralyzed and speech-impaired for the rest of his life,” his family said in a statement.

On Dec. 28, 2019, Grafton Thomas stormed into the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg in Monsey, NY and hacked the 72-year-old and four other Orthodox Jews with a machete during a Chanukah party.

Neumann sustained serious injuries to his brain, neck, and right arm.

On Jan. 3, Thomas was indicted on six counts of attempted murder and a federal hate crimes charge. The charges carry a maximum of 25 years in state prison.

However, a forensic psychiatrist’s evaluation earlier this month says Thomas is unfit to stand trial because he suffers from schizophrenia, experiences hallucinations, and hears voices, reports an affiliate of The USA Today Network.

The report also notes that even if the court rules that Thomas is competent to stand trial, his defense team could argue that he’s not guilty by virtue of mental illness at the time of the attack.

If the court finds Thomas unfit to stand trial, he would be sent to a psychiatric facility until he’s found able to understand the charges against him.