Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Grafton Thomas, the man accused of stabbing five people at a rabbi's home in Rockland County, New York, last month, pleaded not guilty to hate crime charges in U.S. District Court on Monday.
Federal prosecutors charged Thomas, 37, with five counts of obstructing the free exercise of religion in an attempt to kill, each carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison. Thomas is accused of entering the Monsey, N.Y., home of a Hasidic Jewish rabbi and using a machete to attack a group of people observing Hanukkah.
A New York state grand jury last week charged him with five counts of willfully causing bodily injury to victims because of their religion and five counts of obstructing the free exercise of religion in an attempt to kill.
Thomas said in court Monday he was on medication at the time of the attack, including Prozac. Michael Sussman, Thomas's lawyer, said his client has an extensive history of mental illness and asked the court to approve a psychiatric evaluation of him.
One person, Josef Neumann, 72, who was injured in the attack remained in serious condition and may have permanent brain damage, according to the victim's family. He is in the intensive care unit at Westchester Medical Center.
FBI investigators said they found journal entries allegedly written by Thomas expressing anti-Semitic views, referencing Adolf Hitler and "Nazi culture."