An Army veteran from Baltimore accused of fatally stabbing a black man with a sword in Times Square in 2017 told a Manhattan judge Friday he intends to plead guilty — but not while he’s taking pain medication for his broken foot.
Self-proclaimed white supremacist James Jackson, 30, hobbled into Manhattan Criminal Court with the aid of crutches. He was expected to make a plea deal in the death of Timothy Caughman, but instead asked the judge for more time.
Jackson, who lived in Baltimore's Hampden neighborhood, told Justice Laura Ward he'd recently broken his foot and wasn't in the right state of mind because of painkillers. He told Ward it had been his “initial intent” to plead guilty to all counts in the indictment on Friday.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr., as well as many spectators, appeared in the courtroom to hear Jackson admit his guilt. But Ward told the room the plea wasn’t going to happen because Jackson didn’t “feel comfortable” admitting to the murder charges.
Jackson was ordered to return Jan. 23, when he said he will be drug-free. Justice Ward said she planned to contact his doctor in the meantime.
“The only notes we have received with regard to your injury have been your handwritten notes,” she added.
Jackson, who grew up in Towson and graduated from Friends School in Baltimore in 2007, faces mandatory life without parole on the top counts.
Prosecutors say Jackson, who served in the U.S. Army, told police his goal in 2017 was to carry out a spree of hate crimes, targeting black men in interracial relationships. Caughman was alone when he was killed.
Jackson stands charged with murder as an act of terrorism, murder as a hate crime and related counts.
He allegedly broke his foot Dec. 19 — just a few days before his first scheduled court date to plead guilty. In written notes, he told Ward he need four to six weeks to heal from his injury. Ward ordered him to return Jan. 4.
In September, Jackson told police he had singled Caughman out and stabbed the man in the back with an 18-inch sword as he sifted through a trash can for bottles.
With wire services.