Lawyer: Hanukkah Stabbing Suspect Unfit To Stand Trial

Grafton Thomas
Photo credit Seth Harrison/The Journal News, Rockland/Westchester Journal News via Imagn Content Services, LLC

MONSEY, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — A defense lawyer for the man accused in the brutal machete attack inside a rabbi’s home on the seventh night of Hanukkah says his client is not fit to stand trial.

Attorney Michael Sussman says a psychiatrist found Grafton Thomas incompetent to stand trial on hate crime charges stemming from the attack that wounded five Jewish men. One victim remains in a coma on life support.

Thomas was arrested soon after the Dec. 28 attack in Monsey and authorities say they found multiple diary entries relating to anti-Semitism and internet searches relating to Hitler and Jews in his home.

Thomas has plead not guilty to the attack and his attorney notes that the 37-year-old suffers from severe mental illness from years of child abuse.

Sussman has asked the judge to conclude his client is psychologically unfit for trial.

The U.S. Attorney's Office has two weeks to respond to the application for a competency evaluation.

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The U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment to the media on Monday.

Thomas has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and hate crime charges.

(© 2020 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)