The man charged with a hate crime in the brutal daylight stabbing of a rabbi outside of a Jewish day school in Brighton last month was described by his defense attorney Thursday as suffering from severe mental illness, and a Suffolk Superior Court judge ordered him held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing.
Khaled A. Awad is facing charges including armed assault with intent to murder and violation of an individual’s constitutional rights after a grand jury returned nine indictments against him, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachel Rollins’s office said Wednesday.
Awad, 24, is accused of menacing Rabbi Shlomo Noginski outside of the Shaloh House in Brighton on July 1 before stabbing him nine times in the stomach, ribs, and left arm.
Awad’s defense attorney, Janice Bassil, said Thursday he has a history of severe mental illness and often experiences hallucinations.
“This is a very ill individual,” said Bassil.
An Egyptian national, Awad was being held at Bridgewater State Hospital for an evaluation of his mental health following a July 8 hearing in Brighton District Court.
A clinician told a judge at the Brighton hearing that Awad has bipolar disorder, has not been taking any psychiatric medication while in Massachusetts, and was deemed incompetent to stand trial in Florida, where he faced criminal charges last year.
He is now on a medication that “seems to have stabilized him,” Bassil said.
Rollins charged Awad with a hate crime on July 8 and has previously said his mental illness “does not in any way take away from the fact that a violent attack occurred.”
The assault, Rollins said, was a brazen act of hate. People familiar with Awad have told prosecutors he is deeply antisemitic, often using slurs and occasionally breaking into “violent outbursts regarding his strongly held opinions.”
Noginski was standing outside of the Shaloh House near an “enormous menorah” and wearing a yarmulke when Awad approached him.
He threatened Noginski with a gun before chasing him onto Brighton Common and “repeatedly slashing and stabbing” him before chasing him into the street and stabbing him again. Awad was seen outside of the school the day before the attack “acting suspiciously,” prosecutors said.
“The evidence developed in the aftermath clearly indicated the defendant’s motive as hate,” Assistant District Attorney Ursula Knight said Thursday.
Noginski, a father of 12, was released from a Boston hospital shortly after the attack.
“If people want to see a miracle, they should look at me,” he told reporters at his home in Brighton.
Awad is charged with armed assault with intent to murder, aggravated assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon (knife), assault by means of a dangerous weapon (gun), assault and battery for the purpose of intimidation resulting in bodily injury, violating an individual’s constitutional rights, two counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon, and two counts of carrying a dangerous weapon on school grounds.
He is being held at the Suffolk County House of Corrections and is due back in court on Sept. 28.