Prosecutors in New York City are saying that the targeted killing of a black man in midtown Manhattan was most likely an act of terrorism after, they charge, self-proclaimed white supremacist James Harris Jackson, 28, stabbed 66-year-old Timothy Caughman to death.
WABC reports that Jackson, from Maryland, was arraigned in a Manhattan courtroom Thursday and formally charged with second-degree murder. However, prosecutor Joan Iluzzi-Orban signaled that those charges are likely to be upgraded once the case is put before a grand jury.
“The defendant was motivated purely by hatred,” Iluzzi-Orbon said. “Additional charges could include murder in the first degree, as this was most likely an act of terrorism.”
Jackson allegedly stabbed Caughman, who is black, on Monday night. The wounded Caughman was able to make it to a nearby police precinct before later dying in the hospital.
Jackson brazenly turned himself in around 24 hours later after seeing his photo in the media.
Police said that Jackson came all the way to New York City from Maryland, set on targeting and killing black men.
According to authorities, Jackson—an Army veteran who was deployed to Afghanistan and Germany before being honorably discharged in 2012—acknowledged being a member of a white supremacist group, and in a manifesto that was found on his laptop, he detailed his racist views, “explaining his desire and plans.” Jackson brought his laptop to New York, and officers are awaiting a search warrant in order to examine it, WABC reports.
Investigators say they believe that Jackson hated black people, specifically black men, and that he told police that he was enraged by black men having relationships with white women. According to authorities, he told police that just before surrendering, he had seen an interracial couple and thought about the two knives he had on him, but that, ultimately, he turned himself in instead.
Read more at WABC.