PORTLAND, Ore. — Jeremy Christian, the man convicted of killing two men and injuring a third on a MAX light rail train in Portland in 2017, was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without the possibility of release or parole.
Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Albrecht gave Christian a "true life" sentence for both murder counts and ruled they would be served consecutively in an effort to honor each life lost. Albrecht sentenced Christian to 20 years in prison for the count of attempted murder. See a complete sentencing list for all 12 counts against Christian at the bottom of this article.
The second day of Christian's sentencing hearing began with testimony from Shawn Forde, the Black ex-marine who stepped between Christian and the two girls on the MAX train before the stabbings.
Christian, 38, sat in a wheelchair that he requested and watched testimony on a monitor from another room inside the courthouse.
Micah Fletcher, the lone survivor of Christian's stabbing attack, also gave a statement describing how the trauma of the stabbing has affected his life with nightmares and led to alcoholism. He is now in recovery.
Christian gave a statement to the court from another room, saying he was morally to blame, but he would not accept any guilt. He also blamed Fletcher for the violence and said he had no ill will toward Fletcher.
"I do regret that two people died, but I do not regret my actions that led to their death," he said.
Christian was found guilty earlier this year on 12 counts, including murder and attempted murder, as well as assault and intimidation.
Christian was expected to be sentenced Tuesday but the court proceedings were delayed after a heated exchange between Christian and Demetria Hester, the first person who testified.
Hester, a Black woman, said Christian threatened her and threw a bottle at her face the day before the MAX stabbings, leaving her with a black eye.
During Hester's testimony, she criticized police for letting Christian walk away the night he attacked her and blasted the judge for letting him yell things during the trial and wave and wink at victims.
At the end of Hester's testimony, she told Christian, "When you die and go to hell, I hope you rot there." Christian said he'd see her there and stood up. Officers quickly moved to detain him and as he was being led out of the courtroom, he yelled that he should have killed Hester, called her a b**** and told her to "go back to Tennessee."
Watch the exchange below (WARNING: Graphic language)
The hearing continued Tuesday morning without Christian in the courtroom as victims and family members testified.
When the hearing resumed Tuesday afternoon, attorneys representing Fletcher and the family of stabbing victim Taliesin Namkai-Meche asked that Christian be brought back into the courtroom to hear the statements their clients planned to give. Judge Albrecht asked that Christian be brought to another courtroom where he could watch the statements on video while the victims and family members could see him at the same time.
Court adjourned shortly before 5 p.m. with one speaker remaining: Fletcher.
Christian was drinking sangria on an eastbound Green Line MAX train on May 26, 2017, when he went on an expletive-laced rant about religion, race and politics.
Two Black teen girls, one of whom was wearing a hijab, felt targeted by the attack and relocated in the train to create space between them and Christian.
An altercation followed between Christian and two other passengers, Fletcher and Namkai-Meche, as the train pulled up to the Hollywood Transit station.
Christian took a 4-inch knife from the pocket of his shorts and stabbed Fletcher, Namkai-Meche and another passenger, Ricky Best, within just 11 seconds. Best and Namkai-Meche died. Fletcher was gravely wounded, but survived. The knife barely missed a main artery that would have killed him.
Here is the complete sentencing list:
- Count 1 | Murder in the First Degree: Life in prison with no possibility of parole
- Count 2 | Murder in the First Degree: Life in prison with no possibility of parole, consecutive to Count 1
- Count 3 | Attempted Murder in the First Degree: 240 months (130 months consecutive to Count 1 and Count 2; 110 months concurrent to Counts 1 and 2)
- Count 4 | Assault in the First Degree: 90 months, concurrent with all counts
- Count 5 | Intimidation in the Second Degree: 364 days, concurrent with all counts
- Count 6 | Intimidation in the Second Degree: 364 days, concurrent with all counts
- Count 7 | Unlawful Use of Weapon: 60 months, consecutive to Counts 1, 2 and 3
- Count 8 | Menacing: 364 days, concurrent with all counts
- Count 9 | Intimidation in the Second Degree: 364 days, concurrent with all counts
- Count 10 | Assault in the Second Degree: 120 months, consecutive to Counts 1, 2, 3 and 7
- Count 11 | Unlawful Use of a Weapon: 60 months, concurrent with all other counts
- Count 12 | Menacing: 364 days, concurrent with all other counts