New York, Jan 4 (IANS) A US grand jury has indicted the alleged perpetrator of last month’s anti-Semitic attack at a Hanukkah celebration in New York state, on six counts of attempted murder.
Grafton Thomas, 37, is accused of breaking into the Monsey residence of a rabbi and stabbing and slashing orthodox Jews in a machete attack which took place on the night of December 28, reports Efe news.
During the hearing held in Monsey, Rockland County, the grand jury on Friday also filed three counts of assault, three counts of attempted assault and two counts of burglary, local media reported.
A day after the attack, Thomas pleaded not guilty to attempted murder in a case that district attorney Thomas Walsh described on Friday as a “violent and heinous crime”.
On Monday, Grafton appeared in federal court in White Plains, New York, to face five counts of obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs by attempting to kill with a dangerous weapon and causing injuries.
Thomas was also questioned in connection to a separate stabbing of an Orthodox Jewish man near a synagogue weeks before the machete attack, police revealed on Thursday.
One of the people who were injured in the Monsey stabbing, 72-year-old Josef Neumann, remains hospitalized in critical condition.
His daughter Nicky Kohen said on Thursday that his “prognosis is not good” and that he was in a coma.
Kohen said that if her father comes out of his coma, he may not be able to walk or talk again, and added that “the doctors do not have high hopes for him”.
Thomas was arrested about two hours after the incident because witnesses were able to record the registration plate of his vehicle.
The witnesses also claimed that after the attack, Thomas attempted to enter a synagogue next to the rabbi’s home, but that those inside were able to lock the door.
The Monsey neighbourhood of Ramapo is home to a large population of Orthodox Jews.
The attack adds to another eight that took place last week in New York City, which led Mayor Bill de Blasio to reinforce police presence in the areas of the city in with high Jewish populations.
Also in December, five people, including two Jews, were killed in an anti-Semitic attack perpetrated by two assailants in a kosher supermarket in Jersey City, New Jersey.