A white supremacist pleaded guilty Wednesday to killing a black man with a sword in an attack that he said was meant to “provoke a race war.”
James Jackson, 30, pleaded guilty to all six charges against him, including first-degree murder in furtherance of an act of terrorism and a hate crime charge, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on February 13. He faces life in prison.
Jackson, a Baltimore native, told investigators he traveled to New York to kill black men. He said he saw his killing of Timothy Caughman as a “declaration of global total war on the Negro race,” according to a news release from the district attorney’s office.
The attack was intended to “inspire white men to kill black men, to scare black men, and to provoke a race war,” Jackson said.
Jackson stabbed Caughman multiple times with a “Roman-style” sword one night in March 2017, while the 66-year-old black man and self-described “can and bottle recycler” was sifting through garbage in New York City.
Jackson fled, while Caughman staggered to a nearby police substation. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.
Jackson later turned himself in to police.
“White nationalism will not be normalized in New York,” District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement Wednesday. “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.”
Vance’s office pointed out that Jackson’s guilty pleas for murder in the first degree in furtherance of an act of terrorism and murder in the second degree as a crime of terrorism mark the first-ever convictions on those charges in the state of New York.
In a statement, Jackson’s attorney Frederick Sosinsky said his client “took responsibility for his actions of March 20, 2017 and for the unimaginable pain those actions caused to the family of Timothy Caughman and to his own loving family. ”
Jackson made the decision to plead guilty on his own, beginning what the defense team hopes is the first step in “the redemption of a deeply troubled and lost soul.”
His plea was “motivated by a desire to put an end to the spectacle of a trial at which the result and the further harm to both families was all but a foregone conclusion,” Sosinsky said.