A 28-year-old racist Hampden resident now faces a terrorism murder charge in the fatal stabbing of a 66-year-old black man in New York last week.
James Jackson of Baltimore turned himself in to New York City police last week a few days after he said he traveled up to New York by bus carrying a sword and went searching for black men to kill. The victim he chose was Timothy Caughman, who he found in Midtown and stabbed to death on the street. Caughman died after he was transported to a hospital.
Jackson has now been held for the better part of a week at Rikers Island jail in New York. In an interview with the New York Daily News, he said he wished he had killed a younger black man or an older black man who had white female companions.
A grand jury indicted Jackson yesterday on two charges of murder as an act of terrorism, as well as murder as a hate crime and criminal possession of a weapon. He’s facing life in prison without parole.
“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,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance in a statement yesterday, per Gothamist.
Just for a quick look into his twisted mind, Jackson told the Daily News his ideal society is “1950s America,” said “the white race is being eroded” and complained about seeing mixed couples on TV. He also said the murder for which he turned himself in was only a “practice run” for his mission to kill other black men in relationships with white women.
The accused murderer served for three years in the U.S. Army, from 2009 to 2012, and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011. In his interview with the Daily News, he said his training helped prepare him to plan the killing.
His attorney has said he may pursue a defense addressing Jackson’s “obvious psychological issues.”
Jackson graduated from The Friends School in 2007 and grew up in Towson, according to a story on his background from The Sun. “Our family is shocked, horrified, and heartbroken by this tragedy. We extend our prayers and condolences to the family of Timothy Caughman,” Jackson’s family said in a statement.
In a letter to school alumni, Friends School Head Matt Micciche wrote in part, “It goes without saying — especially to all of you — that everything about this attack, and particularly its apparent motivation, is entirely antithetical to our values and ideals as a school and those of the Religious Society of Friends. Friends School, as you know, is deeply committed to working towards a more just, equitable, and peaceful society.”
The killing has drawn media coverage to Baltimore. Outlets have been reporting on Hampden’s past reputation for harboring white supremacists and hosting racist events. Residents came out to show support for Caughman, Jackson’s victim, at a vigil this past weekend that was interrupted by anti-Black Lives Matter protesters.
“We cannot ignore the history that cultivated Hampden’s reputation as a neighborhood to which African American people do not go,” wrote Pastor Vicar Jim of St. Luke’s Church On The Avenue on Facebook after the vigil on Saturday night. “That has begun to change, but we still have a long road ahead of us.”
Jackson remains at Rikers Island. He’s due to be arraigned in Manhattan Supreme Court on Thursday, April 13.
This story has been updated with comment from leadership at the Friends School of Baltimore.
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