Jackson Admits to Political Terrorist Attack Aimed at Igniting a “Race War”
Case Marks First-Ever Prosecution of “Murder as a Crime of Terrorism” in New York State
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. today announced the guilty plea of JAMES JACKSON, 30, for fatally stabbing 66-year-old Timothy Caughman in March 2017 in an act of domestic terrorism. JACKSON pleaded guilty in New York State Supreme Court to all of the counts in the indictment against him: Murder in the First Degree in Furtherance of an Act of Terrorism, Murder in the Second Degree as a Crime of Terrorism, Murder in the Second Degree as a Hate Crime, and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree. He is expected to be sentenced on February 13, 2019 to life in prison without the possibility of parole – the maximum sentence permitted under New York criminal law.
“White nationalism will not be normalized in New York,” said District Attorney Vance. “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. You will spend your life in prison without possibility of parole because there is no place in our city or our society for terrorists – ‘domestic’ or otherwise.
“This resolution won’t bring back Timothy Caughman, a beloved New Yorker who was executed for being black on a midtown street corner. 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, and I thank our prosecutors and the NYPD Detectives whose tireless work enabled us to secure this landmark conviction and send this very loud message today.”
The defendant’s guilty plea represents the first-ever conviction in New York State for Murder in the First Degree in Furtherance of an Act of Terrorism, as well as Murder in the Second Degree as a Crime of Terrorism.
As admitted in the defendant’s allocution, as well as in court documents and other statements made on the record in court, on March 20, 2017 at approximately 11:15 p.m., JACKSON stabbed Mr. Caughman in the back with a Roman-style sword on Ninth Avenue near West 36th Street, and then fled the scene. Mr. Caughman staggered to the NYPD’s Midtown South precinct, located one block away on West 35th Street, where he collapsed in the precinct lobby from his fatal stab wounds.
After JACKSON’s arrest on the following day, he told detectives that he came to New York to murder black men because Manhattan is a global media capital. He stated that he targeted Mr. Caughman because he was black and alone on a dark street. JACKSON further stated that he considered his murder of Mr. Caughman to be a “political terrorist attack” and a “declaration of global total war on the Negro race.” The defendant explained that he intended to “inspire white men to kill black men, to scare black men, and to provoke a race war.” JACKSON further admitted that he considered the killing to be “a call to arms” to the governments of the United States and other nations to pursue a “global policy aimed at the complete extermination of the Negro race.”
Assistant D.A. Dafna Yoran, Senior Trial Counsel for Trial Bureau 70, and Assistant D.A.s Nicholas Penfold and Juan Abreu of Trial Bureau 80 handled the prosecution of this case under the supervision of Executive Assistant D.A. John Irwin, Chief of the Trial Division. Assistant D.A. Joan Illuzzi, Special Counsel to the D.A., Investigative Analyst Alyssa Marino, and Technology Analysts Henry Chapman and Sasha Hodson provided valuable assistance with the case.
District Attorney Vance thanked New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill, Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea, and the following members of NYPD for their assistance with the case: Detective Joseph Barbara of the Manhattan South Homicide Squad and Detectives Thomas Schick and Kenneth Baker of the Midtown South Detective Squad.
JAMES JACKSON, D.O.B. 5/26/1988
- Murder in the First Degree in Furtherance of an Act of Terrorism, a class A-I felony, one count
- Murder in the Second Degree as a Crime of Terrorism, a class A-I felony, one count
- Murder in the Second Degree as a Hate Crime, a class A-I felony, one count
- Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, three counts