A man accused of stabbing a rabbi in Boston’s Brighton neighborhood was arraigned Thursday on new hate crime charges and has been ordered held without bail pending a “dangerousness hearing” later this month, says a news release from Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins.
Khaled Awad, 24, was arraigned on two new hate crime charges in the stabbing of Rabbi Shlomo Noginski: committing a civil rights violation causing injury; and armed assault and battery to intimidate causing bodily injury while armed, Rollins said.
Awad was previously arraigned on July 2 on other charges in connection with the stabbing. He will undergo a “criminal responsibility evaluation” and his next hearing is scheduled for July 29, Rollins said.
At Thursday’s arraignment, prosecutors accused Awad of being present the day prior outside the Jewish day school where the rabbi was attacked and of “acting in a suspicious manner that raised the concern of a witness.”
The next day, prosecutors said Awad was captured on security camera footage approaching the rabbi, drawing a weapon “that appeared to be a gun” and demanding the keys to the school van.
“The rabbi, in fear, handed over the keys. Mr. Awad motioned for the rabbi to enter the van; at the same time, he put away the weapon and pulled out a knife,” prosecutors said, adding that they believe Awad stabbed Noginski nine times as he attempted to flee.
Noginski was treated at a hospital for his injuries, which police said did not threaten his life.
Witnesses told investigators Awad “held strong biases against Jews, Christians and American culture,” Rollins said.
“We want the Jewish community to know that we believe this violent attack was rooted in anti-Semitism,” Rollins said. “We want the Jewish community to know that they are safe, valued, and will be protected.”
Stephen Weymouth, the attorney representing Awad, spoke with CNN Friday.
“I am not surprised that the Commonwealth (of Massachusetts) has filed criminal hate crime charges against my client,” he said. “What I am surprised about is that the Commonwealth didn’t take more time in doing the investigation before deciding to file these charges.”
Weymouth said he believes filing such charges is a “political issue” and that more investigating should have been done first.
“There was absolutely no need to file those charges within one week of the incident,” he said.
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