Judge finds Monsey stabbing suspect still unfit to stand trial

Grafton Thomas, who is accused of attacking five Hasidic men with a machete, had been charged with second-degree murder and committing a federal hate crime

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo visiting with Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg following the attacks. Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Jan 19, 2024 11:05 AM


Grafton Thomas, the Orange County man charged with attacking five Hasidic men with a machete in a rabbi’s home in Monsey, has been deemed still incompetent to stand trial, News 12 Westchester reported.

The machete attack took place in 2019, when a masked man broke into a Chanukah party at the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg and began stabbing the guests. Five men were wounded, and one, 72-year-old Josef Neumann, died of his injuries months after the attack. The attack, which was one of several attacks against Jews that took place in the New York area just that month, drew nationwide attention.

Thomas was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia a year before the attack and had also been suffering from depression and psychosis for years, according to Thomas’s family and his lawyer, Michael Sussman.

Sussman said that he doesn’t expect Thomas, who is a patient at the Mid-Hudson Psychiatric Center, to be able to stand trial anytime soon. “His condition remains unchanged from my experience with him,” Sussman wrote in an email to Shtetl.

Thomas has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder and committing a federal hate crime. Afederal judge is expected to receive an update about Thomas’s condition next month, but the case itself is adjourned until December 2025.