Trial Starts for Accused Firebomber of New Jersey Synagogue

(JTA) — Jury selection began in the trial of a 24-year-old man who is accused of vandalizing and firebombing northern New Jersey synagogues and a rabbi’s home.

Akashi Dalal of New Brunswick is charged with 30 counts of bias intimidation, conspiracy to commit arson on a synagogue and aggravated arson, as well as attempted murder and terrorism charges. He was indicted in 2013 with his friend and co-conspirator Anthony Graziano; both pleaded not guilty.

In May, Graziano was found guilty of terrorism and faces life in prison. He is awaiting sentencing.

Dalal is accused of spray-painting anti-Semitic messages outside of two Bergen County synagogues in December 2011, and firebombing a third in January 2012. The firebombing on Congregation Beth El in Rutherford injured Rabbi Nosson Schuman, who lived with his family in the synagogue residence. Molotov cocktails thrown at the synagogue set fire to the bedroom of the rabbi’s family.

An alleged plan to firebomb the Jewish Community Center of Paramus was abandoned when a police car drove by as Dalal was preparing to strike.

Dalal also is charged in a separate indictment with conspiracy to murder Martin Delaney, the assistant Bergen County prosecutor who oversaw the arson investigation. The trial is expected to last five weeks.


Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Trial Starts for Accused Firebomber of New Jersey Synagogue

Thank you!

This article has been sent!