When white supremacist James Jackson killed a black man in New York City with a sword, he admitted he wanted to start a race war.
Jackson, 30, pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of murder, terrorism, and a hate crime in a Manhattan courtroom and will spend the rest of his life in prison without parole. When asked by the judge if the murder was meant to start a racial war, the white Army veteran said one word: “Yes.”
In March of 2017, Jackson took a bus from Washington, D.C., to New York City and stalked black men until he spotted 66-year-old Timothy Caughman. Jackson drew a sword and attacked Caughman as he was searching through trash bins for recyclables. After stabbing Caughman, Jackson fled and disposed of the sword in Washington Square Park. Caughman managed to make his way to a police station, but later died from his stabbing wounds at a nearby hospital.
The attack on Caughman was only supposed to be the first in a larger violent plot against black men seen with white women in Times Square, Jackson said in court. Although terrorism charges are rare for white extremists, a grand jury voted to file state terrorism charges against Jackson.
Since Donald Trump became president in January 2017, hate crimes have continued to rise in the United States. Reports of hate crimes during Trump’s first year in office jumped by 17 percent, which continued a three-year uptick, according to statistics from the FBI released in November.
In January of 2017, Charleston shooter Dylann Roof was sentenced to death for gunning down nine parishioners in a church. Like Jackson, Roof also said he had planned to start a war between races, according to his 2,000-word manifesto.
Cover image: James Jackson, right, confers with his lawyer during a hearing in criminal court, Wednesday Jan. 23, 2019 in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)