A murder suspect accused of coming to New York to kill as many black men as he could will face trial on charges of terrorism, according to New York County District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.
On Monday, James Harris Jackson, 28, of Baltimore was indicted Monday on one count each of first- and second-degree murder as an act of terrorism for the March 20 stabbing of Timothy Caughman, 66.
He previously was charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime and three counts of criminal possession of a weapon.
Vance said the hate crime charges were warranted because of the coldblooded way he chose his victim, according to a statement released to the press.
“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.
“Last week, with total presence of mind, he acted on his plan, randomly selecting a beloved New Yorker solely on the basis of his skin color, and stabbing him repeatedly and publicly on a Midtown street corner. James Jackson wanted to kill black men, planned to kill black men, and then did kill a black man.”
Caughman was rummaging through trash looking for bottles and cans when he was fatally stabbed with a 26-inch sword.
When Jackson turned himself in, about 24 hours later, police said, he told officers he came to New York from Baltimore “for the purpose of killing black men.”
Jackson reportedly acknowledged the crime to the New York Daily News, saying he wanted to discourage white women from getting romantically involved with black men.
“I didn’t know he was elderly,” Jackson told the paper. He added that he would have rather killed “a young thug” or “a successful older black man with blonds ... people you see in Midtown. These younger guys that put white girls on the wrong path.”
Vance’s statement said a crime like this is a reminder that New York’s “remarkable diversity” can’t be taken for granted. “We must celebrate it, protect it, and refuse to let violence and hate undermine the progress we have made as a city, a state, and a nation.”
Jackson’s lawyer, Sanford Talkin, declined to comment Monday, according to Newsday. His next court date is scheduled for April 13.