By: Tamika Warren
The animal accused of being the machete-wielding so-called Hanukkah stabber, Grafton Thomas, is too nuts to stand trial, according to a psychiatrist.
The trial involves federal hate crime charges for allegedly stabbing five religious Jews last month.
The lawyer representing Thomas, Michael Sussman, had requested a competency evaluation for his client, he said yesterday in a prepared statement.
The alleged attacker, 37, stands accused of using an 18-inch machete to carry out the horrifying attack. He pleaded not guilty to 10-hate crime charges. One of the victims, 72-year-old Josef Neumann, is still in a coma, having suffered injuries including a fractured skull and other injuries.
Thomas “has also pleaded not guilty to state charges, including attempted murder, stemming the same attack,” reported the New York Post. “At his arraignment for those charges, prosecutors argued he was mentally fit to stand trial for the “deliberate and intentional” crime. Thomas is being held without bail in federal custody.”
Sussman’s prepared statement noted that in Dr. Andrew Levin’s judgment Thomas “was not competent to stand trial… “He has no history of like violent acts and no convictions for any crime. He has no known history of anti-Semitism and was raised in a home which embraced and respected all religions and races. He is not a member of any hate groups.”
The attorney, along with Thomas’ mother, “have maintained that his mental illness and going without his medication triggered the vicious attack that left six Hasidic Jews injured, including 72-year-old Josef Neumann, who remains in a coma with a fractured skull. They claimed Thomas, 37, had no violent tendencies — despite one arrest on a charge of assaulting a police officer — nor was he anti-Semitic,” according to recordonline.com.
According to Sussman’s statement, Thomas, has been through a period of mental decline for more than a decade, and was on no fewer than three meds to manage both depression and psychosis. He was, in fact, placed in a hospital for nearly a week back in April for reasons having to do with his mental health.
Rev. Wendy Paige, the pastor of Harriman United Methodist Church, called the alleged machete-swinging maniac a “calm, caring person” and an introvert who clearly struggled with mental problems that sometimes caused him to have trouble finishing his sentences, according to lohud.com. She added, “He’s always been a gentle giant with mental illness.”
Sussman tried to divert attention from his client by warning against stigmatizing mental illness. “There are plenty of people whose mental illness is controlled by medication, and they’re not dangerous in this way and they don’t act out in this way.”