James Jackson, a 30-year old white supremacist who stabbed and killed 66-year old Timothy Caughman because of his race, has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He tried to apologize in court, but Caughman’s loved ones were only insulted.
“I just wanted to apologize to everyone who has been negatively affected by this horrible and unnecessary tragedy,” Jackson said in court. “If I could do it all over again, this never would have happened.”
Caughman’s family and friends don’t buy it. Portia Clark, Caughman’s childhood friend, described it as “BS.” Clark’s husband and Caughman’s friend, Carl Nimmons, said the apology was “insulting. Because I know he didn’t mean it, no kind of way.”
State Supreme Court Justice Laura Ward said, “You killed a man solely because he was Black. And there is no excuse for your actions.”
However, Jackson’s lawyer, Frederick Sosinsky, claimed that Jackson wasn’t racist. He said Jackson served in the military from March 2009 to August 2012, received several medals, and was never involved in a crime. He claims he only snapped after returning from service in Afghanistan in 2011.
“He simply couldn’t find direction in the world,” Sosinsky said.
In March 2017, Jackson stabbed Caughman several times in the back with a sword near Times Square. According to Manhattan District Attorney’s office, Jackson said he traveled to New York City to pull off a “political terrorist attack” and “inspire white men to kill black men, to scare black men, and to provoke a race war.”
In a manifesto saved in a flash drive decorated with a swastika and a Crusader’s cross, Jackson reportedly wrote, “The racial World War starts today. This political terrorist attack is a formal declaration of a global total war on the Negro races Negroes are obviously first on the list for extermination.”
Jackson turned himself in the next day of his attack. He was charged with first-degree murder, hate crime, terrorism and weapons charges. He pleaded guilty to all charges last month.
On Wednesday, he was convicted with the maximum sentence provided by the law, which is life without parole. It marked the first time a white supremacist was convicted on terror charges in New York.
Despite that, Caughman’s loved ones are still heartbroken with his death.
“We’ll never be able to share another family moment with Timothy, we’ll never get to say goodbye to our loved one, we’ll never know how much he truly suffered or how alone he felt in his last moments,” Richard Peek, Caughman’s cousin, read a letter in behalf of their family. “That is our life sentence. We get no parole either.”
Jackson’s lawyers said they are planning to file an appeal, which could take about two years.