The lawyer for a man accused of going on a stabbing rampage during a Hanukkah celebration at a rabbi’s home north of New York City said his client has “severe psychiatric issues.”
Federal prosecutors filed hate crime charges against Grafton Thomas. Thomas was arraigned on five counts of attempted murder in a state court on Sunday.
Thomas is accused of stabbing five people on Saturday night with what the criminal complaint described as a “machete” after bursting into a Hanukkah celebration that included dozens of people at Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg’s home in Rockland County, about 30 miles (48 km) north of New York City.
During a news conference shortly after the federal hate crime charges were filed, Thomas’ lawyer Michael Sussman said “My impression from speaking with him is that he needs a serious psychiatric evaluation.”
Authorities did not release the names of the victims. Four of the five victims of the attack were released after being treated at a local hospital while one was still hospitalized with a skull fracture, the New York Times quoted officials as saying.