Judge rules Monsey stabbing attacker unfit to stand trial for hate crimes

The judge’s ruling only applies to the federal hate crime charges levied against him.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

Grafton Thomas, the man who attacked five Jews with a machete in New York, was ruled mentally unfit to stand trial on Monday.

“The defendant is suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent to the extent he is unable to assist properly in his defense,” said U.S. District Court Judge Cathy Seibel.

According to the ruling, Thomas will be evaluated in a mental health facility for a short period of time to determine if “in the foreseeable future he will attain the capacity to permit criminal proceedings to go forward against him.”

On Dec. 28, 2019, Thomas stormed into the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg in Monsey, N.Y. and hacked five Orthodox Jews with a machete during a Chanukah party.

In January, Thomas pleaded not guilty on six counts of attempted murder and 10 federal hate crimes charges. Seibel’s ruling only applies to the federal hate crime charges levied against him.

Despite references to Hitler, the Nazis, and anti-Semitic material discovered by the FBI on his phone, Thomas’ lawyers argue that he suffers from hallucinations, hearing voices, and other severe psychiatric issues.

“I have stated from the very outset that, based upon my investigation, this was not an act of domestic terrorism,” Thomas’ attorney Michael Sussman told ABC News on Monday.

“While others were making that claim and inflaming the public, I stated that Mr. Thomas had a long well-documented history of mental illness and that, tragically, this motivated his conduct in late December.”

“His actions on the night in question all bespeak to his very serious mental illness. In this situation, long-term treatment and hospitalization appear to be appropriate,” she said.

One of the victims, Josef Neumann, died last month from injuries sustained in the deadly attack.