The man accused of a stabbing attack at a rabbi’s home in Monsey, New York, that left an elderly man in a coma pleaded not guilty to federal hate crimes charges.
Grafton Thomas, 37, appeared Monday in federal court in White Plains. A federal grand jury last week ordered his indictment on hate crimes charges for the Dec. 28 stabbing attack. He faces a total of 10 federal charges.
Thomas already has been indicted on state charges, including attempted murder and burglary. He remains in jail on £3.84m ($5 m) bail.
Federal prosecutors allege that Thomas targeted his victims because they were Jewish. They were attending a Hanukkah party at the rabbi’s home.
Josef Neumann, 71, who was injured in the stabbing, remains unconscious and on a respirator.
U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel said at the hearing Monday that if Neumann dies, Thomas could face the death penalty, Reuters reported.
Thomas’ family says he has a long history of mental illness.
Police who searched Thomas’ home found handwritten journals that they say expressed antisemitic views, including references to Adolf Hitler and ‘Nazi culture.’ He also had searched online on his phone for “German Jewish Temples near me” and “Zionist Temples” in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and on Staten Island.