MAX attack suspect pleads not guilty, accuses victim of 'violent aggression'

Accused MAX killer claims self defense

PORTLAND, Ore. – Jeremy Christian on Wednesday pleaded not guilty in last month’s triple-stabbing on a TriMet MAX train, and on his way out of the courtroom shouted at victim Micah Fletcher.

"Not guilty," Christian said, "of anything but defending myself against violent aggression by Micah Fletcher!"

Christian was indicted by a Multnomah County grand jury Tuesday and could face the death penalty. He was arraigned on the charges Wednesday morning. Fletcher was in attendance for the appearance, as he was for the previous arraignment.

Christian, 35, faces two counts of aggravated murder, one count of attempt to commit murder, one count of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree intimidation, one count of menacing and four counts of unlawful use of a weapon in connection with the stabbings that killed two men and wounded a third on May 26.

The aggravated murder charges carry a potential death penalty.

The three victims, Fletcher, Rick Best and Taliesin Namkai-Meche, were defending two young girls who were the focus of Christian's yelling on the train before the stabbing. Both girls are black and one was wearing a hijab. Detectives said video on the train showed Christian yelling racial and religious epithets.

Best and Namkai-Meche died after the stabbing. 

Read more: Portland MAX attack: What we know

The indictment also included additional counts of intimidation, second-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon and menacing, which were added after Christian’s first court appearance. The four new charges stem from an altercation on May 25, the day before the stabbings, authorities said. Christian reportedly threw a bottle of Gatorade at a black woman during a confrontation at the Interstate Rose Quarter Station. The woman sprayed Christian with a can of mace.

During his first court appearance a week earlier, Christian entered the packed courtroom yelling about free speech. Fletcher was sitting in the courtroom during the hearing.

“Death to the enemies of America. Leave this country if you hate our freedom. Death to Antifa! You call it terrorism, I call it patriotism! You hear me? Die,” Christian said.

Court documents released the day of Christian's first hearing detailed his confession to the stabbings in the back of a Portland police car.

Christian, who was being recorded while in the back of the car, said,"I'm happy now. I can rest easy," court documents said. 

More: MAX stabbing victim Rick Best remembered as hero at funeral

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