The man accused of stabbing five people during a Hanukkah celebration at the home of a rabbi pleaded not guilty Monday to 10 federal hate-crime charges.
Grafton Thomas appeared in court Monday, where he told the judge he was on medication at the time of the attack, including Prozac.
Thomas said he was currently taking the antidepressant Prozac as well as Latuda, a drug prescribed for bipolar depression.
Last week, Thomas received five additional hate-crime charges for a total of 10 hate crime charges. He also faced state charges and has been held without bond on federal charges.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Krouse, If one of the victims of the attack who is currently in a coma were to die, Thomas could face the death penalty.
Prosecutors alleged that Thomas targeted his victims because of their Jewish faith. Thomas was in possession of handwritten journals that referred to Adolf Hitler and Nazi Culture, as well as drawings of the Star of David and a Swastika.
“We now allege that he did this with the intention of targeting his victims because of their religion,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said last week in a news release. “Thomas faces life in prison for his alleged violent acts of prejudice and intolerance.”
Thomas’ family pastor, the Rev. Wendy Paige, said that the suspect has been suffering from mental illness and that his family believed that condition was the cause of the alleged stabbings – not hatred toward Jewish people.