New York, Dec 31, 2019-
Federal prosecutors in New York have included a hate crime on the list of charges against a man who on December 28 injured five Jews with a machete and a knife during Hanukkah celebrations.
Grafton Thomas, 37, “is accused on five charges of a federal hate crimes” federal prosecutors in the southern district of New York confirmed to Efe news in a statement on Monday.
Thomas has been accused on five charges of attempted murder plus one of burglary, and an additional five counts of obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs by attempting to kill with a dangerous weapon and causing injuries, according to federal prosecutors, who have specified that almost all the charges are punishable with a maximum sentence of life in prison.
On December 28 at around 10 p.m., Thomas broke into the home of a rabbi in New York state’s Monsey town, where a religious ceremony was being held to celebrate the seventh night of Hanukkah, and stabbed five people, one of them as many as six times.
According to the charges filed by prosecutors, during a search of Thomas’s home several hand-written notes were discovered in which the accused expressed “anti-Semitic sentiments” and in which appeared drawings of the Jewish symbol of the Star of David along with the Nazi swastika.
The document also notes that on Thomas’s mobile phone were recent Internet searches for “German Jewish Temples near me” in the town of Elizabeth in New Jersey, as well places known for their Jewish culture in the New York borough of Staten Island.
He also looked for the names of prominent companies founded by Jews in the United States and posted online the phrase: “Why did Hitler hate the Jews?”
Thomas pleaded not guilty and his family said he did not belong to any hate groups – to the contrary, he was “raised in a home which embraced and respected all religions and races”, but added that he had a “long history of mental illness and hospitalizations”.
According to the authorities, since last December 8, the state of New York has seen a total of 13 anti-Semitic attacks, eight of them in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, which has a large Jewish community. (Agency)