NJ shul attacker confessed, county prosecutor says
The 19-year-old man charged in attacks on two northern New Jersey synagogues confessed to the crimes, prosecutors said.
Anthony Graziano confessed to the Jan. 11 firebomb attack on Congregation Beth El, a synagogue and residence in Rutherford, and the Jan. 3 arson attack on Congregation K’hal Adath Jeshurun in Paramus, assistant Bergen County prosecutor Martin Delaney said Jan. 31, according to reports.
Also on Tuesday, Graziano pleaded not guilty to additional charges that he planned to attack the Jewish Community Center of Paramus. Those charges stemmed from the discovery of Molotov cocktails and a bicycle that the suspect allegedly hid in the woods near the JCC.
Graziano’s attorney said his client has a history of poor mental health and that any confession should be treated skeptically. The attorney, Robert Kalisch, told The Record newspaper that he is considering entering an insanity plea.
A state Superior Court judge in Hackensack reduced Graziano’s bail from $5 million to $2.5 million, but reiterated that he is still a danger to the community, according to reports.
Graziano has been charged with nine counts of first-degree attempted murder in the Rutherford attack, as well as one count each of bias intimidation and aggravated arson. Rabbi Nosson Schuman of Congregation Beth El, who lives with his family in the synagogue residence, was injured in the attack.
In the Paramus attack, Graziano was charged with aggravated arson and bias intimidation, as well as third-degree arson.
If convicted on all charges, he could be sentenced to up to 95 years in prison.