PORTLAND, Ore. – A jury Thursday found the so-called “TriMet Barber” guilty of harassment and interfering with public transit. He was sentenced to two years in prison.
Jared Weston Walter, 30, was convicted of cutting the hair of two women who were using TriMet transit.
One of those victims we are identifying only as "Katherine" reacted to the verdict and the sentence shortly after it came down.
"I’m glad he’s out of the community for a couple years, that is comforting to me; I am concerned what happens after those two years because the history kind of tells us where it goes with this," said Katherine.
One victim testified Wednesday that she was sitting at a MAX platform on April 29 when she felt a sharp pain at the back of her head.
“I felt hairs pull out of the back of my head,” she said, “like the sharp, almost burning sensation of getting your hair caught on something.”
She said she then saw Walter’s face within 6 inches of her head.
The second victim testified that on May 1 she was riding a bus home from work when she felt a tugging at her hair. She thought someone must have grabbed the seat and accidentally caught her hair.
“And that persisted for a little while and I started feeling it gradually a little bit more,” she said. “So eventually I got very irritated and I turned around…and saw a pair of sharp scissors, felt three tugs to the hair, sharp pain.
“I asked, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ And the defendant said to me, ‘I don't know what you're talking about.’”
She said she asked Walter why he had scissors in his hand and he continued to deny he had done anything wrong. She reported it to the bus driver and Walter took off.
TriMet later announced a reward for the suspect’s capture and Walter was arrested within hours.
Walter took the stand in his own defense Wednesday afternoon, according to his attorney, and acknowledged cutting the women's hair. But he said he did so very gently and never intended to harass them. Walter said he did it for his own sexual gratification.
Walter has already been convicted three times for assaulting women in a similar way.
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