The victim most seriously injured in the stabbing attack at a rabbi’s home in Monsey in late December has died.
Josef Neumann had been in a coma from the time of the attack to his death on Sunday. He was 72.
Mr. Neumann had begun to open his eyes in February, leading to calls for people to keep praying for his full recovery.
The murderer’s knife penetrated Mr. Neumann’s skull. His right arm also was shattered.
The first announcement of his death came in a tweet from the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council. Mr. Neumann had seven children, “many grandchildren,” a great-grandchild, and brothers and sisters.
The alleged murderer, 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. If it is determined that Mr. Neumann died of his injuries, Mr. Thomas could be charged with murder, and he could face the death penalty.
Four others were injured in the attack, which happened during Chanukah.
Reacting to the death, New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, said that he will rename proposed state hate crime legislation in Mr. Neumann’s honor.
“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Josef Neumann, who suffered brutal stab wounds after an attacker invaded the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg on the final night of Chanukah three months ago,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement.
“This repugnant attack shook us to our core, demonstrating that we are not immune to the hate-fueled violence that we shamefully see elsewhere in the country.”
After the attack, Mr. Cuomo proposed legislation that equates hate crimes with domestic terrorism. Now, he said, the legislation will be called the Josef Neumann Hate Crimes Domestic Terrorism Act.
Mr. Cuomo called on the state legislature to pass the act in the state budget, which is due this week. “We owe it to Mr. Neumann, his family and the entire family of New York to get it done now,” he said.
Jewish Telegraphic Agency