For one man in New York last week, racist beliefs took a deadly turn.
The 28-year-old white U.S. Army veteran stabbed a black man to death with a sword o March 20. Officials charged the veteran, James Harris Jackson, with murder as an act of terrorism, for killing Timothy Caughman, 66. Additionally, prosecutors charged him with murder in the second degree as a hate crime and three counts of criminal possession of a weapon.
Jackson said that, leading up to the murder, he hid racist feelings toward black men. Additionally, he claimed Caughman’s murder was simply a “practice run.”
Although he did not knot Caughman personally, Jackson said he wish he would have killed someone else.
“I didn’t know he was elderly,” he said. “[I would have rather killed] a young thug or a successful older black man with blondes…People you see in Midtown. These younger guys that put white girls on the wrong path.”
According to Cyrus Vance, Manhattan district attorney, Jackson spent three days searching for a victim. Vance said he did so “in order to launch a campaign of terrorism” against New Yorkers. Furthermore, Jackson chose the New York area to gain greater media attention for his crimes.
“Last week, with total presence of mind, he acted on his plan,” Vance argued. “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.”
Jackson, who traveled to Manhattan from Baltimore, came across Caughman while walking in Midtown. Allegedly, without little interaction, he used his sword — with an 18-inch blade — to repeatedly stab Caughman in the chest and back. Doctors pronounced the man dead at the hospital due to internal bleeding from excessive wounds in his spleen, bowels, pancreas, diaphragm and lungs.
Murder was “act of terrorism”
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said Caughman’s death was an act of terrorism.
“We need for [white supremacist groups] to be treated the same way as we treat ISIS,” he said.
Many described the late Caughman as a friendly man with a kind-hearted personality.
“Tim Caughman did not deserve to die like that…Nobody does,” one friend said. “I mean, come on. We’re black, white, yellow, brown — that’s ridiculous. We’re trying to get along.”
If convicted, Jackson will serve life in prison without parole.