New York Hanukkah Stabbing Victim Dies Three Months After Attack

In this Jan. 2, 2020, file photo, surrounded primarily by family, Nicky Kohen, the daughter of Josef Neumann who was critically injured in an attack on a Hanukkah celebration, speaks to reporters in front of her home in New City, N.Y. An Orthodox Jewish organization said Neumann died Sunday, March …
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

A New York man who was gravely wounded in a machete attack on Hanukkah has died three months after the attack.

Josef Neumann, who died on Sunday at the age of 72, was one of five men allegedly hacked with a machete by Grafton Thomas on December 28, while celebrating Hanukkah at Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg’s home in Monsey, New York, the New York Post reported.

The 18-inch machete Thomas allegedly used “penetrated [Neumann’s] skull directly into his brain,” the family said at the time.

The Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council tweeted a graphic photo of Neumann lying comatose in a hospital bed and on a respirator two days after the attack.

He had two long rows of stitches that ran parallel to each other over his left eye, which was swollen shut.

Despite his critical condition, his family held out hope that he would wake up from his coma.

Neumann showed signs of improvement for a while, but doctors painted a grim picture, saying he would likely suffer permanent brain damage once he woke up from his coma if he survived.

At the time, Thomas was charged with five counts of attempted murder and federal hate crimes. He could face an upgraded murder charge now that Neumann is dead, according to the Post.

Thomas was allegedly soaked in blood and stored the machete under the passenger seat of his car when the New York Police Department (NYPD) arrested him in Harlem an hour after the alleged attack.

Defense lawyer Michael Sussman has denied that his client is antisemitic, adding that his client has a history of psychosis and was off his prescribed medication at the time of the slaying.

Sussman asked a federal judge to approve an evaluation that would prove whether his client is competent enough to stand trial. He argued that the defense-hired psychiatrist found him incompetent enough to stand trial.


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