James Jackson hoped to start a race war because he hated African-Americans. So he allegedly killed a Black man in Manhattan prosecutors said Wednesday.
And in a chilling videotaped confession, Jackson, a white army veteran told police that over a period of days he stalked Black men in Manhattan until, on St. Patrick’s Day in March 2017, he found an older man rifling through the trash for recyclables, The New York Times reports.
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It was at this point, Jackson, who traveled from Baltimore, testified that he pulled a short sword from his coat and repeatedly stabbed 66-year-old Timothy Caughman. The attack was so brutal that the tip of the sword broke and Jackson tossed it in a garbage can.
He turned himself in the next day after police released surveillance footage of the killing, Raw Story reports. His guilty plea has led to rare state charges of murder as terrorism as well as murder as a hate crime, meaning Jackson will very likely be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole at his February 13 sentencing.
This is, in fact, the first time someone has been convicted on these charges, according to the district attorney’s office, noting that terrorism laws lengthen sentences for the underlying crimes.
“If you come here to kill New Yorkers in the name of white nationalism, you will be investigated, prosecuted, and incapacitated like the terrorist that you are,” District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement.
Jackson told investigators that he decided to commit the killing in New York because it’s the U.S. media capital and he believed this would fuel a race war, according to a statement by the Manhattan Attorney General’s Office. He said he saw it as “a call to arms.” He hoped, he said, that the U.S. government would launch a “global policy aimed at the complete extermination of the Negro race.”
The other charges Jackson has pleaded guilty to are murder in the first degree in furtherance of an act of terrorism, murder in the second degree as a hate crime and criminal possession of a weapon.
Caughman, the son of a home healthcare aide and a pastor, lived a quiet life and worked in anti-poverty programs in Queens, The New York Times reports.
“Religion and philosophy were his constants in his conversations over unhurried meals of turkey bacon and grits at local diners,” The Times reports. “In recent years, he had caught the familiar New York infatuation with celebrities and delighted in collecting their autographs and pictures.”
Portia Clark, 66, deeply misses Caughman, her longtime friend.
“The pain is still there,” she said. “I’m grateful he pleaded guilty to all of the charges and they can take him back and throw away the key.”
She concluded her sentiment as she stood outside the court Wednesday with a few words for Jackson:
“And no — I don’t forgive you for what you did.”
What Jackson did was unforgivable. He committed an unbelievable brutal act against a modest man who lived by quiet means. A man who helped others who was going about his day and not harming anyone. Unlike Jackson, hate did not rule his world.
Jackson can be seen in court in this video posted last September by The Washington Post.
Featured image by The Washington Post via YouTube video