A white man was convicted on the rare charge of murder as terrorism for killing an elderly black man in hopes of inciting a race war.
A white supremacist and former Army veteran from Baltimore confessed on Wednesday to killing a black man in New York in hopes of starting a “race war” that would lead to the “complete extermination of the Negro race.”
James Harris Jackson said he did not regret stalking, stabbing and killing 66-year-old Timothy Caughman in 2017. At Jackson’s pretrial hearing on Wednesday, the judge asked Jackson if he killed Caughman because he was black and Jackson wanted to start a race war.
Jackson said, “Yes.”
Jackson rode on a bus from Washington to New York City on St. Patrick’s Day in 2017. He chose to kill black people in New York because he said he believed the attack would generate the widest media coverage there. He even thought of sending emails to CNN or The New York Times to tell them why he killed people after every attack.
He was booked into a hotel on West 46th Street. He had with him a short sword and two knives tucked deep into his coat which he then carried with him as he roamed the streets for multiple days hunting for victims. He stalked up to 20 black people and sometimes groups of black people to kill, but he often hesitated and changed his mind when there were too many people around. Security cameras caught him following a black man but he said he changed his mind about killing him because of people around.
Then at nearly midnight on March 20, he saw Caughman searching through a garbage can for recyclables. Jackson stabbed him in the back and several times on the chest, leaving him to bleed to death. Bleeding profusely, Caughman managed to stumble into the police station on West 35th Street and officers called for an ambulance. But the wounded man died at Bellevue Hospital.
Security cameras had caught Jackson following black people at random, and his photo was splashed on TV screens during news broadcasts. The day following the killing, Jackson reported himself to the police substation in Times Square. In a videotaped confession, Jackson said he killed Caughman as a practice for a larger attack to be unleashed on black men in Times Square. He planned to kill black men dating white women because he hated interracial dating.
Jackson Wanted a “Global Policy Aimed At the Complete Extermination of the Negro Race”
Jackson was charged with the unique crime of murder as terrorism and murder as a hate crime.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned the murder when it happened, de Blasio also called the attack a racist act of domestic terrorism at Caughman’s funeral. The Manhattan district attorney Cyrus R. Vance agreed with de Blasio.
“I looked at this as no different than an Islamist Jihadist coming into the city and attacking a synagogue or attacking a non-Muslim for ideological or political purposes,” Mr. Vance said. “That’s exactly what James Jackson did, except it was based on a bias of white supremacy.”
Jackson explained to investigators that he intended to “inspire white men to kill black men, to scare black men and to provoke a race war.” He said all he wanted to carry out murders of black men as a “declaration of global war on the Negro race.” Then he went on to reveal that he wanted to achieve “a global policy aimed at the complete extermination of the Negro race.”
Jackson faces a life in prison with no possibility of parole.