April 1, 2020

Monsey, N.Y., Stabbing Victim May Not Regain Consciousness

NEW CITY, NY - JANUARY 02: David Neumann (2nd L) gets emotional as he speaks to media about his father's condition during a press conference on January 2, 2020 in New City, New York. Josef Neumann, one of the five victims of the stabbing attack during Hanukkah, remains in critical condition in the hospital. Doctors are not sure if he will regain consciousness. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

One of the five victims from the Dec. 28 stabbing rampage in Monsey, N.Y., suffered serious bran damage and might not emerge from a coma.

The family of Josef Neumann, 72, released a statement on Dec. 31 through the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council explaining that Neumann was stabbed several times in the head, neck and arm; the blade penetrated Neumann’s skull and damaged his brain.

“Our father’s status is so dire that no surgery has yet been performed on the right arm,” the family statement read, noting that the Neumann’s arm was “shattered.” The family added: “Doctors are not optimistic about his chances to regain consciousness, and even if our father does miraculously recover partially, doctors expect that he will have permanent damage to the brain; leaving him partially paralyzed and speech impaired for the rest of his life.”

The family also released a photo showing Neumann’s current state in the hospital.

Neumann’s family also spoke about his condition in a Jan. 2 press conference, pleading with those watching to fight against anti-Semitism.

“We want our kids to go to school and feel safe, we want to go to our synagogues and feel safe, we want to go to groceries [stores] and malls and feel safe,” Nicky Kohen, Neumann’s daughter, said.

Kohen added that the family decided to release the photo of Neumann because they had received a vast number of inquiries asking if Neumann had woken up.

“When people ask, ‘Is he awake yet? Is he talking to you guys?’ and all I want to do is yell: ‘Do you understand the prognosis right now is that he really may not ever speak again or wake up or walk?’ ” an emotional Kohen said. “[The doctors] just don’t have hope. As a family, we do have hope, so we decided to release that photo after much thought so that people can realize how severe this attack was.”

The suspect, 37-year-old Grafton Thomas, was arrested on Dec. 28 and faces multiple federal hate crime charges as well as charges of attempted murder. Thomas pled not guilty; his attorney said Thomas has a history of mental illness.

Federal prosecutors announced on Dec. 30 that they discovered journals belonging to Thomas that espoused anti-Semitic viewpoints, including “references to ‘Adolf Hitler’ and ‘Nazi culture’ on the same page as drawings of a Star of David and swastika,” according to the New York Daily News.