Suspect in NY Hanukkah stabbings faces federal hate crime charges, reportedly researched Hitler


(CNN/WBTW) – The man accused of using a machete to wound five people at a Hanukkah celebration in New York now faces hate crime charges.

Authorities say the suspect had anti-Semitic journal entries in his home.

Grafton Thomas – the man accused of stabbing five Hasidic Jews at a Hanukkah celebration – is now charged with federal hate crimes.

The suspect remains in custody — after being charged with obstructing the free exercise of religion in an attempt to kill.

Thomas already pleaded not guilty to state charges Sunday of five counts of attempted murder and one count of first-degree burglary.

According to a criminal complaint, prosecutors say Thomas’ internet history on his cell phone included searches of: “why did hitter hate the Jews” and “German Jewish temples near me.”

There was also reportedly a search for “prominent companies founded by Jews in America.”

The criminal complaint against Thomas also says a journal found by authorities shows that he expressed “anti-Semitic sentiments” with some entries referring to “hitter” and “Nazi culture” with drawings of a swastika and a star of David.

One entry “Hebrew Israelites” took from the “powerful ppl (ebinoid Israelites)” — apparently a reference to the “Black Hebrew Israelite” movement.

According to a law enforcement source, that group has been linked to the terror attack at a kosher supermarket in Jersey City three weeks ago.

The complaint also details the moments leading up to the Hanukkah attack — alleging Thomas entered the rabbi’s home with his face covered by a scarf — and proclaimed to those inside “no one is leaving” and then used an 18-inch machete to start “stabbing and slashing people…”

Josef Glick, a witness, said “I kept on screaming “everybody run. Everybody move away. Everybody run. go, go, go. The guy is coming. The guy is coming.” And he said “Hey, you. I’ll get you.” That is the only exchange he had, I think with anyone.

Thomas was apprehended by police two hours later in New York City.

Police say he was found with blood on his clothes and a smell of bleach in the car with the machete and another knife that had apparent traces of dried blood on them.

His attorney and family say he is a former marine who suffered from mental illness and they claim he had no history of anti-Semitism.

“Which frankly show the ramblings of a disturbed individual but there is no suggestion in any of those ramblings and pages of writing of an anti Semitic motive of any anti-semitism,” said Michael H. Sussman, Thomas’ attorney.

Thomas’ bail is set at $5 million.


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