NEW YORK (AP) — The man charged with stabbing five people during a Hanukkah celebration in New York began boot camp to enter the U.S. Marine Corps but was separated from the service a month later for “fraudulent enlistment,” military officials said Tuesday.
A Marine Corps spokeswoman would not provide details on why Grafton Thomas left the Marines as a recruit in late 2002, about a month after he started training.
"Those specifics are administrative in nature and therefore information we are required to keep private,” Capt. Karoline Foote told The Associated Press.
Federal prosecutors filed hate crime charges against Thomas on Monday, accusing the 37-year-old of using a machete to wound five people inside the home of a rabbi in Monsey, N.Y., north of New York City. A criminal complaint said at least one of the victims was in critical condition with a skull fracture.
Thomas is being held without bail. He was charged with five federal counts of obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs by attempting to kill with a dangerous weapon. He also has pleaded not guilty to five state counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary.
Thomas' defense attorney, Michael Sussman, told reporters about Thomas' military service during a news conference Monday in which he described his background and yearslong struggle with mental illness. He provided a handwritten resume in which Thomas indicated he trained with the Marines in Parris Island, South Carolina.
Military law defines fraudulent enlistment as a “knowingly false representation or deliberate concealment as to” a recruit's qualifications. That could involve a recruit failing to disclose certain medical conditions, past drug use or an arrest record, including cases that are sealed because the recruit was a juvenile or for other reasons.
Thomas had multiple run-ins with law enforcement before he was taken into custody over the weekend, including an arrest for assaulting a police horse, according to an official briefed on the investigation who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Details related to that case appear to be under seal.
Sussman wrote in an email to The AP on Tuesday that Thomas “was recruited and suffered a wrist injury during basic training” with the Marines.
“He was then released from that training,” Sussman said. “That is the best information we have at this time.”
Thomas' family has said his mental health deteriorated over the years and that he has been hospitalized on multiple occasions. After washing out of the Marines, Thomas attended William Paterson University in New Jersey between 2005 and 2007 where he played football as a running back.
His former coach at William Paterson, Mike Miello, said Thomas was injured early on and was “a non factor in our program.”
“He wasn't around long enough to get to know him,” Miello told The AP.
RELATED: Vintage crime photos from the Daily News
Vintage crime photos from the Daily News
Vintage crime photos from the Daily News
UNITED STATES - MARCH 03: Confessed Slayer Enraged. William Patrick Farrell screams as he lunges toward fotog taking his picture in van outside Police Headquarters. Police say that Farrell, 25, father of two, reenacted for them the slaying of NYU coed Ann Yarrow last month. Farrell, a patient at Bellevue Hosipital twice before, was ordered to Bellevue again. (Photo by Al Amy/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 25: Leon Liss, Barney Mortillaro, Milton (Shuffles) Goldberg, Louis Liss, Pasquale Chicarelli and gang leader Richard Reese Whittemore (l. to r.) in a police lineup, after they were implicated in a gem holdup on W. 48th St. (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 09: Theodore A. Clement in the back of a police paddy wagon after allegedly shooting a man during a poker game. (Photo by Al Amy/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 20: Isadore Strauss in jail cell at police headquarters after his arrest for murder and robbery in connection with Whittemore gang job. (Photo by Paul Levine/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 04: Abe (Kid Twist) Reles (center) in a police mug shot. (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 2000: Liquor store owner Abraham Weissman views the body of stickupman, Otis Mims, whom he shot during an attempted robbery. (Photo by Gary Kagan/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 01: Mass murderer Harry F. Powers, the Butcher of Clarksburg, tells a detective about the details of his grisly murders in Clarksburg, W.Va. (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 19: Nela Bogacki, alias Nella Bogart, madam of the 'Continental call girl ring,' handcuffed to Salema Hontover after being seized by the F.B.I. Both are to be deported for illegal entry. (Photo by Al Amy/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 25: The body of Albert Anastasia - who ran Murder, Inc., a gang of hired killers for organized crime, in the late 1930s - lies on the barbershop floor at the Park Sheraton Hotel, Seventh Avenue and West 55th Street, soon after his murder by two gunmen at 10:20 A.M. (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 20: A manacled LeRoy Luscomb is charged with first degree murder in the killing of his wife with a deer rifle. His wife is on the bed in the rear of the photo., (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) When John Kerr, of 147 W. 84th Street, and Peter Macon, 490 Columbus Avenue, were being booked on a mugging charge at the West 68th St. Precinct today, photographer Phil Grietzer, New York Daily News photographer, drew a bead on the proceedings with his camera. He didn't know the boys had a camera allergy. But he found out when the two, although handcuffed together, came charging at him. Another photographer who doesn't suffer from buck fever, got this picture.
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 16: Driver and bodyguard Thomas Bilotti lies on the street next to car after he and crime boss Paul Castellano were shot to death outside East Side steakhouse. (Photo by Thomas Monaster/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
Associated Press writers Robert Burns in Washington and Jennifer Peltz and Michael Balsamo in New York contributed to this report.