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Monsey Stabbing Victim, in Coma Since Attack, Succumbs
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Monsey Stabbing Victim, in Coma Since Attack, Succumbs

Josef Neumann, 72, is first fatality in brazen Chanukah night attack.

A member of the Ramapo police stands guard in front of the house of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg last December in Monsey. Five people were injured in a knife attack during a Chanukah party. Stephanie Keith/Getty Images
A member of the Ramapo police stands guard in front of the house of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg last December in Monsey. Five people were injured in a knife attack during a Chanukah party. Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

JTA  The most seriously injured victim of the stabbing attack at a rabbi’s home in Monsey, N.Y., in late December has died.

Josef Neumann was in a coma from the time of the attack to his death on Sunday. He was 72.

Neumann had begun to open his eyes in February, leading to calls to keep praying for a full recovery.

The assailant’s knife penetrated Neumann’s skull. His right arm also was shattered. Four others were injured in the Dec. 28 attack.

The first announcement of his death came in a tweet from the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council.

Neumann had seven children, “many grandchildren,” a great-grandchild, and brothers and sisters.

The alleged stabber, Grafton Thomas, 37, has pleaded not guilty to 10 federal hate crimes charges along with six counts of attempted murder and several assault and burglary counts in Rockland County court.

Yossi Gestetner, a co-founder of the council and a friend of family, told The New York Times on Monday that he hoped prosecutors would upgrade the charges against Mr. Thomas, who had been initially charged with five counts of attempted murder.

“Certainly the prosecutors should look for the harshest of punishments that the law prescribes and that they can win in court,” Mr. Gestetner said.

In a statement, the Rockland County district attorney’s office said it will seek an indictment on second-degree murder charges against Mr. Thomas, according to The Times. The exact timing of that indictment is unclear because “the Covid-19 issue has slowed down the process,” the statement said.

If it is determined that Neumann died of his injuries, Thomas could face the death penalty

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