Jewish community in Monsey seeks closure from deadly stabbing two years ago
Tuesday marked two years since the community of Monsey was hit with tragedy - and the pain still lingers for many.
On Dec. 28, 2019, five people were stabbed at a Hanukkah party, one whom died three months later.
Grafton Thomas, 39, was accused of the attack and has been in a federal prison hospital in Missouri since he was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial. But the Jewish community in Monsey is tired of waiting and wants closure.
"The case and trial haven’t come to a conclusion or definitive outcome, but people’s lives go on,” said Yossi Gestetner, of the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council.
“According to previous reports he was looking for Jewish-related stuff online and he traveled from one county to the next to look for a specific location to commit an act,” added Gestetner. “So it's a little bit difficult to buy that it just happened.”
Thomas' attorney, Michael Sussman, believes the crime was triggered by mental illness, not hate.
"Mr. Thomas has suffered as records indicate for almost two decades from a very paralyzing mental illness,” the suspects attorney said.
Thomas has been diagnosed with schizophrenia in a mental evaluation done in 2020. In that examination, he claimed he'd been hearing voices since his mid-20s, which at times are ‘threatening’.
Thomas is expected to return to court in New York on Jan. 26 for another update on his mental health.