Man Accused In Hanukkah Machete Attack Indicted

NEW CITY, NY — A Rockland County grand jury Friday indicted Grafton Thomas, who is accused of breaking into a rabbi’s home Saturday in Monsey and slashing Hanukkah celebrants with a machete. A federal grand jury also met Friday to consider the case.

The 37-year-old Thomas faces six counts of attempted second-degree murder, three counts of first-degree assault, three counts of attempted first-degree assault and two counts of first-degree burglary, District Attorney Thomas E. Walsh II announced. All are classified as violent felonies.

“The defendant has been charged with a violent and heinous crime,” Walsh said in a statement. “This was an extremely brutal attack.”

In addition, a federal grand jury convened Friday in Manhattan to consider the case, said Thomas’ attorney, Michael Sussman. He said he only learned about that grand jury after he was served with a federal subpoena demanding he turn over to the government all papers and notes he and Thomas’ mother found at Thomas’ former home in Wurtsboro, which the FBI knew about the but hadn’t searched, he said.

At 9:52 p.m. Dec. 28, Thomas tried to kill Hanukkah celebrants in the basement of 47 Forshay Road, prosecutors said, slashing at least six people. He fled after someone threw a coffee table at him and he was tracked to New York City, where he was arrested that night.

Thomas was held in the Rockland County Jail and at the Westchester County Jail but has since been moved to a federal facility, prosecutors said. His bail remains set at $5 million. Sussman said he did not seek reduced bail and reiterated his request that Thomas be given a standard mental health evaluation.

Executive Assistant District Attorney Dominic Crispino and Senior Assistant District Attorney Michael Dugandzic are prosecuting the Rockland County case.

If convicted on all counts there, Thomas faces up to 25 years in state prison. A criminal complaint is merely an accusation, and Thomas is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

“As a former police commander, I understand how much work goes into an investigation of this scale, and I want to thank the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office, the Ramapo Police Department, the Rockland County Sheriff’s Office, the NYPD, the FBI and all the other involved agencies and departments for their quick action in not only apprehending this dangerous individual but seeing that he is charged to the fullest extent of the law,” Rockland County Executive Ed Day said in a statement.

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