Grafton Thomas, the suspect in the stabbing of five Orthodox Jews in Monsey, New York, did Sabbath chores while growing up.
By World Israel News Staff
Grafton Thomas, 37, who stormed into a home in Monsey, New York on Dec. 28, and hacked five Orthodox Jews with a machete at a Chanukah party, reportedly helped Jews observe the Sabbath when growing up, The New York Post reports.
Thomas grew up with Jewish friends “and even did Sabbath chores for them,” his mother, Kim Thomas, told the paper on Wednesday in her first public remarks since his arrest. She said he was born in Crown Heights, a Jewish section of Brooklyn.
“Grafton grew up going there on a Friday afternoon to turn off the lights for them,” she said.
Observant Jews can’t perform certain tasks on the Sabbath, such as using electricity. In a common practice, they ask non-Jews to carry out such tasks. These non-Jews are referred to as a “Shabbos goys.”
Federal authorities said Thomas’s handwritten journals contained anti-Semitic references.
A phone recovered from his car included repeated internet searches for “Why did Hitler hate the Jews” as well as “German Jewish Temples near me” and “Prominent companies founded by Jews in America,” the complaint said.
His mother, 55, said her son isn’t anti-Semitic but mentally ill.
“He writes all over the paper, he circles letters or words like a typical schizophrenic mind,” she said.
His defense attorneys maintain that Thomas is mentally ill.
Defense attorney Michael Sussman told reporters he visited Thomas’ home and found stacks of notes he described as “the ramblings of a disturbed individual” but nothing to point to an “anti-Semitic motive” or suggest Thomas “intentionally targeted” the rabbi’s home.
“My impression from speaking with him is that he needs serious psychiatric evaluation,” Sussman said. “His explanations were not terribly coherent.”.
The mother said she visited her son on Tuesday.
“I said, ‘Mommy loves you, I am going to try to do everything to help,’ and he said, ‘We thank you.’ I said, ‘Who’s we?’ ” Kim said. “To this day he has not received medical attention.”