Grafton Thomas, 37, of Greenwood Lake, is suspected in the stabbings of five people who were celebrating Hanukkah at a rabbi’s home in Monsey.
Thomas is facing federal hate crime charges. It was reported by ABC that officials discovered anti-Semitic materials on the suspect’s phone and in several journals.
A criminal complaint claims that in the journals has drawings of a swastika and Star of David. It also had texts about nazi culture and Adolf Hilter. The suspect’s internet history included term such as “Why did Hitler hate the Jews?”, “Prominent companies founded by Jews in America.” and “German Jewish Temples near me.”
Additionally, on the day of the attack, dec. 18, the complaint read that the suspect used his phone browser to read, an article titled, “New York City Increases Police Presence in Jewish Neighborhoods After Possible Anti-Semitic Attacks. Here’s What To Know,”
His family claims he has a history of mental illness.
Thomas’ family released a statement on him, saying “Grafton Thomas has a long history of mental illness and hospitalizations.”
The statement continued, “He has no history of like violent acts and no convictions for any crime. He has no known history of anti-Semitism and was raised in a home which embraced and respected all religions and races. He is not a member of any hate groups. We believe the actions of which he is accused, if committed by him, tragically reflect profound mental illness. Finally, we express our deepest concern and prayers for those injured physically and otherwise deeply affected by the events of Saturday night…We thank those who rendered medical attention to each of those injured.”
Thomas, 37, who was arraigned Sunday, pleaded not guilty to five accounts of attempted murder and one count of burglary. ABC reports his bail was set at $5 million and Thomas remains jailed.
It was reported that he faced federal court in White Plains Monday to face five counts of obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs by attempting to kill with a dangerous weapon and causing injuries, according to ABC.
Thomas’ defense claimed he had no criminal history; however, an assistant district attorney said during his arraignment that Thomas was arrested for menacing and reckless endangerment over the past summer, according to NBC.
It has been reported that Thomas has no ties or connections to the home and the people he attacked.
It has been reported that Thomas lives with his mother in Greenwood Lake, according to NBC.
One victim is in critical condition with a skull fracture.
ABC reports officials have not provided a motive at this time for the attack, but Gov. Cuomo called it domestic terrorism.
Besides this incident, it was reported that in the last week alone, at least ten Jews were stabbed or injured in New York City and New Jersey. The incidents are recent as Sunday.
NBC reports Tiffany Harris, 30, was arrested again Sunday morning after allegedly punching a 35-year-old woman who was walking on the Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. It is not clear if this victim was Jewish like the others. Previously, Harris slapped three women from ages 22 to 31, in the face and said “F-U Jews.” The victims suffered minor pain.