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Hanukkah Suspect Had Troubling Phone Searches

Grafton Thomas is charged with hate crimes after 5 people were stabbed at rabbi's house
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 30, 2019 1:12 PM CST

(Newser) – The man accused of stabbing five people inside a rabbi's house during a Hanukkah celebration has been charged with federal hate crimes, reports NBC News. In the criminal complaint against Grafton Thomas, 37, authorities say they found handwritten journals in which Thomas expressed anti-Semitic views and made references to Hitler and Nazis, reports the New York Times. Recent searches on his phone were "Why did Hitler hate the Jews, "German Jewish Temples near me," and "Prominent companies founded by Jews in America." Police arrested Thomas in Harlem Saturday night, about two hours after the attack inside a home in the Jewish enclave of Monsey, New York.

  • Mental illness: Thomas' family says he has a long history of mental illness, including schizophrenia. "He has no known history of anti-Semitism and was raised in a home which embraced and respected all religions and races," says a family statement, which blames the attack on his "profound mental illness," per the Wall Street Journal. An aunt tells the AP that Thomas had not been taking his medication recently. "They're making him look like this monster,” she says. "My nephew is not a monster. He's just sick. He just needs help."

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