White man who wanted race war pleads guilty to New York stabbing

NEW YORK, Jan 23 (Reuters) - A white Baltimore man who traveled to New York City in 2017 and killed a black man with a sword in hopes of sparking a race war in the United States pleaded guilty to murder as an act of terrorism, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

James Jackson, a 30-year-old U.S. Army specialist, stabbed Timothy Caughman, 66, to death on March 20, 2017, and turned himself in at a police station the next day after police circulated surveillance video of the killing.

He told detectives that he had chosen to commit the crime in New York because it is the U.S. media capital and he believed that the killing would start a race war, the Manhattan district attorney's office said in a statement.

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White supremacist kills black man with a sword in New York
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White supremacist kills black man with a sword in New York
James Harris Jackson appears in criminal court during his arraignment, Thursday, March 23, 2017, in New York. Jackson, accused of randomly killing Timothy Caughman, a 66-year-old black man on the streets of New York by stabbing him with a sword, was charged Thursday with murder as a hate crime. (Steven Hirsch/New York Post via AP, Pool)
MIDTOWN MANHATTAN, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2017/03/24: A crowd of about 300 people gathered in Union Square on the evening of March 24, 2017; for an emergency action to say Enough is Enough. The crowd rallied and proceed to march to Herald Square in Midtown Manhattan where Timothy Caughman was killed and hold a moment of silence to honor Timothy and other victims of Hate Crimes and to say no to hate crimes and domestic terrorism. (Photo by Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
James Harris Jackson appears in criminal court during his arraignment, Thursday, March 23, 2017, in New York. Jackson, accused of randomly killing Timothy Caughman, a 66-year-old black man on the streets of New York by stabbing him with a sword, was charged Thursday with murder as a hate crime. (Steven Hirsch/New York Post via AP, Pool)
Portia Clark speaks during a press briefing after James Jackson pled guilty Wednesday Jan. 23, 2019 in New York, for the killing of her friend Timothy Caughman. Jackson, a white supremacist, pled guilty Wednesday, to killing a black man with a sword as part of a racist plot that prosecutors described as a hate crime.  He faces life in prison when he is sentenced on Feb. 13. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
James Harris Jackson appears in criminal court during his arraignment, Thursday, March 23, 2017, in New York. Jackson, accused of randomly killing Timothy Caughman, a 66-year-old black man on the streets of New York by stabbing him with a sword, was charged Thursday with murder as a hate crime. (Steven Hirsch/New York Post via AP, Pool)
New York City public advocate Letitia James speaks at the funeral services for Timothy Caughman Saturday, April 1, 2017, in New York. Caughman was alone and collecting bottles for recycling last month when he was attacked from behind with a sword. Authorities say his assailant, James Harris Jackson, took a bus last month to New York to target black men. Jackson is being held without bail on charges of murder as a hate crime. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, right, his wife, Chirlane McCray , left, and Public Advocate Letitia James, arrive for the funeral services for Timothy Caughman Saturday, April 1, 2017, in New York. Caughman was alone and collecting bottles for recycling last month when he was attacked from behind with a sword. Authorities say his assailant, James Harris Jackson, took a bus last month to New York to target black men. Jackson is being held without bail on charges of murder as a hate crime. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
James Harris Jackson is arraigned in criminal court, Thursday, March 23, 2017, in New York. Jackson, accused of randomly killing Timothy Caughman, a 66-year-old black man on the streets of New York by stabbing him with a sword, was charged Thursday with murder as a hate crime. (Jefferson Siegel/The Daily News via AP, Pool)
MIDTOWN MANHATTAN, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2017/03/24: A crowd of about 300 people gathered in Union Square on the evening of March 24, 2017; for an emergency action to say Enough is Enough. The crowd rallied and proceed to march to Herald Square in Midtown Manhattan where Timothy Caughman was killed and hold a moment of silence to honor Timothy and other victims of Hate Crimes and to say no to hate crimes and domestic terrorism. (Photo by Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
HELL'S KITCHEN, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2017/04/03: A makeshift shrine to Timothy Caughman who was killed in an alleged bias attack by James Harris Jackson on March 20th, 2017 is seen on the Southeast corner of West 36th Street near where Mr. Caughman resided and was slain. (Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
HELL'S KITCHEN, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2017/04/03: A makeshift shrine to Timothy Caughman who was killed in an alleged bias attack by James Harris Jackson on March 20th, 2017 is seen on the Southeast corner of West 36th Street near where Mr. Caughman resided and was slain. (Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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His guilty plea marks the first conviction of murder as a crime of terrorism in New York state, the district attorney's office said, under terrorism laws that increase sentences for the underlying crimes.

Jackson faces life in prison without parole at his sentencing hearing on Feb. 13, the district attorney's office said.

"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," Cyrus Vance, the district attorney, said in a statement.

Jackson told detectives in 2017 that he saw Caughman's killing as "a call to arms" and that he hoped the U.S. government would pursue a "global policy aimed at the complete extermination of the Negro race," according to the district attorney's office.

Jackson also pleaded guilty to murder in the first degree in furtherance of an act of terrorism, murder in the second degree as a hate crime and criminal possession of a weapon.

A lawyer for Jackson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Jackson served as a specialist in the U.S. Army until 2012, and was deployed in Afghanistan for nearly a year beginning in December 2010. He was awarded several medals for his conduct.

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Scott Malone and James Dalgleish)

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