Hanukkah machete attack suspect deemed incompetent to stand trial, defense says

A psychiatrist says Grafton Thomas, the New York man accused of stabbing five Hasidic Jews during a Hanukkah celebration last month, is incompetent to stand trial on federal hate crime charges, Thomas’ attorney said Monday.

Defense attorney Michael Sussman said he has asked a federal judge to hold a competency evaluation for Thomas, 37, who was arrested hours after a Dec. 28 stabbing attack at a rabbi’s home in Monsey, an Orthodox Jewish community north of New York City.

FILE: Ramapo police officers escort Grafton Thomas from Ramapo Town Hall to a police vehicle in Ramapo, N.Y.

FILE: Ramapo police officers escort Grafton Thomas from Ramapo Town Hall to a police vehicle in Ramapo, N.Y. (AP)

The federal court has given the U.S. Attorney's Office two weeks to respond to the application for a competency evaluation, Sussman said.

Thomas has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and other charges in Rockland County. He pleaded not guilty to 10 hate-crime charges in federal court on Jan. 13.

Investigators found anti-Semitic writings in Thomas' journals and articles on Jews and Nazis on his cell phone, according to a complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

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The journals questioned “why [people] mourned for anti-Semitism when there is Semitic genocide” and claimed the “Hebrew Israelites” took from the “powerful [people] (ebinoid Israelites).” The journals also contained references to “Adolf Hitler” and “Nazi Culture” on the same page as drawings of symbols such as the Star of David and a swastika, the complaint read.

Thomas' mother and Sussman have said Thomas suffers from mental illness and was not responsible for his actions. Sussman has said Thomas has no history of violent acts or anti-Semitism.

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One of the victims, 72-year-old Josef Neumann, remains in a coma with a fractured skull and other injuries.

Thomas remains in federal custody without bail.

Fox News' Greg Norman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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