The suspect accused of the Dec. 28 machete attack at a home and prayer hall known as Rabbi Rottenberg’s Shul in Monsey, N.Y., injuring five of the 100 or so celebrants at a Hanukkah candle-lighting party, pleaded not guilty on Monday to federal hate crimes.

Grafton Thomas, 37, spoke briefly to reply to the U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Davison’s questions confirming his name and age, mentioning that he has taken anti-depressant and anti-psychotic medication while in prison, where he is being held without bond.

Thomas said he understood the 10-count indictment.

The charges include five counts of obstructing the free exercise of religion in an attempt to kill and five counts of obstructing the free exercise of religion in an attempt to kill, a federal hate crime.

If convicted on these charges, Thomas could spend the rest of his life in prison.

He could also face capital punishment if a comatose victim succumbs to his wounds, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Krouse said at Monday’s hearing.

Support Jewish Journalism
with 2020 Vision

JNS is more than just another news website and syndication service. It is an organization devoted to nonstop reporting, and telling the truth about Israel and Jewish issues unburdened by the biases and institutional blinders that distort so much of what we read, hear and see about these topics elsewhere in the secular and even Jewish press.

At JNS, you get the facts about Israel and Jewish issues without the bias that so often tilts the argument against the Jewish state. JNS articles and columns are republished every week by digital outlets and print newspapers across the globe. But in the age of round-the-clock news coverage, advertising and syndication revenues are not enough to support our continued growth. We need your financial help to keep JNS on target as we continue our fair and accurate reporting.

Please help us take JNS to the next level with a tax-deductible sponsorship, either on a recurring monthly basis. Jewish News Syndicate is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.