James Jackson, the Baltimore man who allegedly came to New York to kill blacks and stabbed Timothy Caughman to death last week on a midtown street corner, was indicted Monday for first- and second-degree murder as an act of terrorism and as a hate crime.
“James Jackson wanted to kill black men, planned to kill black men, and then did kill a black man,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a statement. “He chose Midtown as his crime scene because Manhattan is the media capital of the world, and a place where people of different races live together and love one another.”
Jackson, 28, faces a sentence of mandatory life in prison without parole if prosecutors are able to convince jurors that he murdered Caughman 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 would face a minimum of 20 years to life if convicted of murder as a hate crime without that enhancement, the district attorney’s office said, and was also charged with three misdemeanor counts of criminal possession of a weapon.
The NYPD last week said Caughman, 66, who lived at a single-room occupancy hotel, was stabbed by Jackson, a veteran, with a 26-inch sword as the elderly black man was rummaging through trash cans in the vicinity of West 35th Street.
Jackson, who later turned himself in to police, said he had harbored animosity toward blacks for a decade, had looked for a victim after arriving in the city and staying in a hotel on March 17, and the crime was racially motivated, police said. He was first charged and detained last week.
“James Jackson prowled the streets of New York for three days in search of a black person to assassinate in order to launch a campaign of terrorism against our Manhattan community and the values we celebrate,” Vance said.
The indictment was read during a court appearance on Monday, but Jackson did not enter a plea. That will occur at his next appearance, set for April 13. Jackson’s lawyer, Sanford Talkin, declined to comment on Monday.