MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — The Baltimore military veteran accused of fatally stabbing a black man with a sword as part of a planned murder spree targeting black men has been indicted on charges of murder as a crime of terrorism.
James Harris Jackson, 28, was indicted on murder in the first degree, one count of murder in the second degree as a crime of terrorism, one count of murder in the second degree as a hate crime, and three counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Charles Solomon said Wednesday.
He pleaded not guilty at the indictment, despite confessing to the killing and leading investigators to the murder weapon.
A handcuffed Jackson, who appeared in court wearing a gray sweatshirt and dark-gray slacks, was silent except to announce his plea in a loud voice after the charges were read.
At his side were attorney Patrick Brackley — who was assigned to the case after Jackson’s family said they wouldn’t continue paying for his defense — and his previous attorney Sanford Talkin, who was officially relieved from the case by Justice Solomon.
Brackley declined to comment on the case as he walked briskly past reporters outside the courtroom following the arraignment.
Defense motions will be served and filed in court on May 31, Justice Solomon said.
Jackson turned himself into police a day after fatally stabbing 66-year-old Timothy Caughman with a 26-inch sword near West 36th Street and Ninth Avenue, admitting he'd planned to kill other black men after attacking Caughman, prosecutors said.
Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi previously said the murder was “an act, most likely, of terrorism.”