The white supremacist who came north from Baltimore to murder blacks and ended up using a sword to slaughter New Yorker Timothy Caughman while he was rummaging for bottles in trash on the street pleaded guilty Wednesday to murder in furtherance of an act of terrorism in Manhattan Supreme Court.
James Jackson, 30, who told cops in his 2017 confession that he thought blacks were inferior and wanted to “inspire white men to kill black men, to scare black men, and to provoke a race war,” faces a likely sentence of life in prison without parole, officials said.
“White nationalism will not be normalized in New York,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a statement. “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.”
“This resolution won’t bring back Timothy Caughman, a beloved New Yorker who was executed for being black on a midtown street corner,” Vance added. “It won’t reverse the alarming rise of white nationalism in America. It is, however, the loudest message that a civil society can send to would-be terrorists.”
Jackson’s plea came almost two years after the stunning attack. On March 20, 2017, he stabbed Caughman, 66, who lived in a single-room occupancy hotel, repeatedly with a Roman-style sword just after 11 p.m. on Ninth Avenue. Caughman, wounded, staggered to a police precinct and collapsed.
Jackson turned himself in. He told police he had a deep animosity for blacks, and had hunted for one to kill after arriving in the city on March 17. He said he came to New York City because it was a media capital and he wanted to make a “declaration of total war on the Negro race.”
He was the first person convicted under a state statute with severe penalties for murder as an act of terrorism, with intent to coerce a civilian population, influence government policy through coercion and affect the conduct of a unit of government.
He also pleaded guilty before Judge Laura Ward to second-degree murder as a terrorist act and as a hate crime, and to weapons possession. His sentencing was scheduled for Feb. 13.