Grafton Thomas
Grafton ThomasReuters

Grafton Thomas, who is accused of stabbing five people with a machete at a Hanukkah celebration in Monsey, New York, this past December, is not mentally fit to stand trial, a judge ruled in a decision made public Monday, according to The Associated Press.

The 37-year-old Thomas was charged in the December 28 attack that left five people wounded. The most critically injured victim, Josef Neumann, 72, died of his wounds in late March, three months after the attack.

Federal prosecutors said Thomas targeted congregants celebrating the seventh night of Hanukkah at the Monsey home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg because of their Jewish faith.

Thomas has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and other charges.

Judge Cathy Siebel wrote that Thomas should be committed to a treatment facility for no more than four months to determine if he can reach "the capacity to permit criminal proceedings to go forward against him.”

The ruling only applies to Thomas' trial for federal hate crimes, noted AP.

Federal prosecutors have said Thomas had handwritten journals containing anti-Semitic comments and a swastika, and had researched Adolf Hitler’s hatred of Jews online.

One of the prosecutors has said in the past that if Neumann dies of his wounds, Thomas could face the death penalty.

Thomas' attorney Michael Sussman has argued from the start that his client was not motivated by anti-Semitism and has struggled with mental illness for years.