Last week, it was revealed that Jackson killed Caughman as part of a plot to “target Black males for assault.” He was originally booked on second-degree murder charges, but yesterday (March 27), New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announced a new slate of charges:
- Murder in the First Degree (in furtherance of an act of terrorism), a class A-I felony, one count
- Murder in the Second Degree as a Crime of Terrorism, a class A-I felony, one count
- Murder in the Second Degree as a Hate Crime, a class A-I felony, one count
- Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, three counts
The Baltimore Sun, Jackson’s hometown newspaper, reports that a conviction on the second degree murder as a crime of terrorism charge alone comes with a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole. Jackson is expected back in court on April 13. He is currently in Riker’s Island Correctional Center.
“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,” Vance said in the statement. “Last week, with total presence of mind, he acted on his plan, 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. James Jackson wanted to kill Black men, planned to kill Black men, and then did kill a Black man.”
CNN reports that Jackson’s attorney declined to comment on the charges. But in a jailhouse interview with the New York Daily News on Sunday (March 26), Jackson said he didn’t know Caughman was elderly and that he would have rather killed “a young thug” or “a successful older Black man with blonds … people you see in Midtown. These younger guys that put White girls on the wrong path.”