FBI report: Hanukkah attack suspect searched “Why did Hitler hate the Jews”Posted: Updated:
Federal court documents are revealing a possible motive in the Monsey Hanukkah attack as officials try to make sense of a rash of recent anti-Semitic actions in the Hudson Valley.
Greenwood Lake resident Grafton Thomas is behind bars as he faces two separate sets of charges related to his alleged role in the stabbing attack on five Hasidic Jewish men in Monsey on the seventh night of Hanukkah. He is accused of entering a home and shul on Forshay Road on Dec. 28, yelling 'no one is leaving,' before stabbing and slashing five Hasidic men, and driving off. He was caught two hours later in Manhattan.
The 37-year-old has pleaded not guilty to state charges, including five counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary. He also pleaded not guilty to federal hate crimes, including five counts of violating a person's religious rights with an intent to kill.
Thomas' attorney claims his client suffers from severe mental illness. "I can't get into the detail of what he was doing and why he was doing it. I'm not sure he can honestly get into that detail or understand his own behavior," says attorney Michael Sussman.
But the initial FBI report shows a different side of Thomas - one filled with hatred for Jews. Thomas allegedly kept journals with writings and drawings of Nazi culture, Hitler and swastikas.
A check of his phone also came back with anti-Semitic web searches and articles referencing “Why did Hitler hate the Jews” and 'the black Hebrew Israelites,' the group tied to the shooting attack on Jews in Jersey City in early December.
Investigators are also looking into a possible pattern between this stabbing and a previous attack on a rabbi in Monsey on Nov. 20.
No one has been arrested in that case so far.
Thomas is being held on $5 million bail on the state charges and without bail on the federal complaint. He is due back in Ramapo Town Court on Friday.