(JTA) — A psychiatrist has found Monsey stabber Grafton Thomas to be incompetent to stand trial on attempted murder and federal hate-crimes charges.
Defense attorney Michael Sussman has asked a federal judge to hold a competency evaluation for his client.
Thomas, 37, was arrested following the Dec. 28 attack at the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg, in which he stabbed five people with a machete. One of the victims, Josef Neumann, 72, is fighting for his life as a result of injuries to his head and brain; he remains in a coma. If Neumann dies, Thomas could face the death penalty.
Thomas denies stabbing anyone, and his family says he suffers from mental illness.
Thomas’ phone revealed he had recently searched online for phrases like “Why did Hitler hate the Jews,” “German Jewish Temples near me” and “Zionist Temples” in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and on Staten Island, New York.
Thomas pleaded not guilty to 10 hate-crime charges on Jan. 13 in federal court. He also pleaded not guilty after a grand jury in Rockland County charged him with six counts of attempted murder and several assault and burglary counts.
Thomas is being held without bail in federal custody.