James Jackson is the first person convicted of murder as a crime of terrorism in New York State.
The self-proclaimed white supremacist will now spend the rest of his life in prison without parole.
Timothy Caughman, a gentle 66-year-old who was well-liked by neighbors, was collecting recyclables two years ago when Jackson stabbed him to death on Ninth Avenue near West 36th Street with a large sword.
Jackson told cops he traveled from Baltimore to kill a black man, hoping such an attack in the nation's media capital would trigger a race war. He pleaded guilty last month. Before he received the maximum sentence Wednesday, he expressed remorse in court for the first time.
"I wanted to apologize to everyone negatively affected by this horrible and unnecessary tragedy,” Jackson said. “It never should have happened. If I could do it all over again, this never would have happened for sure."
The victim's family and friends aren't buying it.
"It was insulting because I know he didn’t mean it no kind of way,” said Carl Nimmons, a friend of Timothy Caughman.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. made a rare appearance in court, reading a passage from Jackson's hate-filled manifesto to put it on the record for the first time.
Vance says the sentence is a declaration that violent white nationalism will not be ignored or normalized in New York.
"We are a diverse city, we choose to live together,” Vance Jr. said afterwards. “We choose to, across races, marry together. We chose, across religions, to worship together."
Jackson's attorney says the 30-year-old military veteran acted out of desperation and that his actions went against his upbringing in a tolerant middle-class family.
His attorney says instead of going to trial, Jackson has chosen to spend the rest of his days atoning for his mistakes.