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Baltimore man who killed black man with sword in New York sentenced to life without parole

James Jackson speaks to his attorney before pleading guilty to first degree murder and other crimes for fatally stabbing Timothy Caughman in Manhattan Criminal Court. Jackson, who is from Baltimore, was sentenced to life without parole in the killing.
James Jackson speaks to his attorney before pleading guilty to first degree murder and other crimes for fatally stabbing Timothy Caughman in Manhattan Criminal Court. Jackson, who is from Baltimore, was sentenced to life without parole in the killing. (Barry Williams for New York Daily News)

James Harris Jackson — the Baltimore man who confessed to trying to launch a race war by stabbing a black man in Times Square two years ago — was sentenced to life without parole Wednesday.

Jackson, who pleaded guilty last month and said he wanted to purge the world of black people, is the first white supremacist to be convicted on terrorism charges in New York, the Manhattan District Attorney said.

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He was hit with the stiffest sentence possible under state law as relatives of Timothy Caughman, his 66-year-old victim, gathered to see justice done.

Caughman “had a heart like a blanket crocheted with a grandmother’s love — huge, warm and comforting,” a family member wrote in a letter that was read to Justice Laura Ward at the sentencing.

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Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance said his prosecutors would have taken Jackson to trial if necessary.

James Harris Jackson was born into a liberal family and educated at a Quaker School devoted to non-violence and equality, but now, the 28-year-old Baltimore man and Army veteran faces terrorism, hate crime and murder charges in the stabbing death of a black man.

"American law enforcement has been slow to acknowledge the rise and scope of white nationalism, and this has emboldened actors like the defendant," Vance said in a statement. "We have too often treated these crimes as something less than terrorism."

Jackson pleaded guilty to all counts in his unique indictment — including first-degree murders as an act of terrorism and as a hate crime.

His lawyers Patrick Brackley and Frederick Sosinsky advised him against copping to the crimes but said Jackson wanted to end the proceeding for his own family and for Caughman’s.

James Harris Jackson, the 28-year-old white Baltimore man accused of fatally stabbing a black man in in New York City a week ago, was indicted Monday on charges of murder as an act of terrorism and a hate crime.

“By this plea this sad chapter comes to an end where he voluntarily accepted responsibility and is now moving toward redemption,” Brackley said after the proceeding.

Jackson, 30, who was raised in Towson and lived in Hampden, admitted that he had plunged a sword into Caughman’s back as the man stood in Times Square only because the victim was black.

He later told police it was a practice killing for further planned assaults on black people.

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