(JNS) 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.