Grafton Thomas, the African American man accused of stabbing five people, one critically, at a Chanukah Melave Malka gathering in Monsey, NY, on Thursday pleaded not guilty in Rockland County Court to attempted murder and several other charges. Last Monday, Thomas pleaded not guilty to federal hate crime charges.
The federal charges could lead to a death penalty charge against Thomas if Josef Neumann, 72, who is comatose with a fractured skull from the attack, dies, God forbid.
On Saturday night, December 28, 2019, the seventh night of Chanukah, a masked African-American man wielding a machete invaded the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg in Monsey, Rockland County, New York, and began stabbing the rabbi’s guests. Five people were wounded, two were in critical condition. The guests threw chairs and a table at the assailant, who fled the scene. The suspect’s car was spotted on the George Washington Bridge two hours later, and the driver, Grafton Thomas, 37, was taken into custody by the NYPD. He was arraigned in Rockland County court.
The FBI and Ramapo police are still investigating the possibility that Thomas was the perpetrator in an early morning beating and stabbing attack on a Chassidic rabbi who was on his way to Shachrit prayers in his shul on Howard Drive in Monsey, on November 20.