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Federal charges filed against NY stabbing suspect
update:December 31,2019
Dec.31,2019-- U.S. federal prosecutors on Monday filed hate crime charges against a man accused of Saturday's stabbing of five people at a rabbi's home in upstate New York, local media reported.
Grafton Thomas, a 37-year-old man from Greenwood Lake of the state of New York, was charged with five counts of obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs with a weapon and an attempt to kill. He would face life in prison if convicted.
The charges came after the suspect was arraigned in a New York state court a day earlier, when he pleaded not guilty to five counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary, according to court records.
He was held without bail after a brief appearance in a federal court in White Plains, New York on Monday.
Authorities said handwritten journals found in the suspect's home and internet browsing history recovered from his phone contained anti-Semitic references, according to a complaint signed by an FBI special agent on Monday.
Thomas' family and his attorney said Sunday that he had a long history of mental illness, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
The incident took place amid a flurry of anti-Semitic attacks across the country and on the seventh night of the traditional Jewish festival of Hanukkah.
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo called it "domestic terrorism" while visiting the scene in the small town of Monsey, some 30 miles (48 km) north of New York City with a large orthodox Jewish community.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump condemned the attack as "horrible" in a tweet on Sunday.
"We must all come together to fight, confront, and eradicate the evil scourge of anti-Semitism," he added.
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