PORTLAND, Ore. — Warning: The following article contains graphic language, images and depictions of brutal violence pertaining to the MAX train attack that may be troubling to readers.
The fourth day of Jeremy Christian’s trial got underway Friday with testimony from Demetria Hester, the black woman who says Christian threw a bottle at her face the day before the MAX stabbings.
Christian is accused of going on a hateful rant aimed at two black teen girls aboard a TriMet MAX train on May 26, 2017. An altercation followed between Christian and two other men, Micah Fletcher and Taliesin Namkai-Meche, and quickly escalated as the three men were chest-to-chest.
- Full coverage of the Jeremy Christian trial on KGW.com
- Full coverage of the trial on KGW's YouTube page
Fletcher shoved Christian twice, and Christian told him, "Hit me again, hit me again." Prosecutors say Christian then took a 4-inch knife from his shorts pocket and stabbed Fletcher, Namkai-Meche and another passenger, Ricky Best.
Best and Namkai-Meche died. Fletcher was gravely wounded, but survived. The knife barely missed a main artery that would have killed him.
The defense and state submitted their opening arguments earlier in the week. Christian's lawyers argued their client used self-defense in the attack, because he felt like he was being assaulted by Fletcher.
Hester crossed paths with Christian the night before the stabbings, on May 25, 2017, as she was riding the yellow MAX home.
She said Christian got on the MAX at the Prescott stop, and immediately started ranting about religion, race and free speech.
"He got on train saying he was Nazi, [asking] 'Does anyone want to join me?'" Hester testified. “I told him to shut up. No one wants to be threatened because of their race, color, creed, or religion. He said, 'f*** you, b****, I can say what I want to say ... I won't rape you, but I'll kill you.'"
The back and forth continued for some time, and Hester testified Christian told her multiple times that he would kill her, or "b**** you're about to get it."
When the train got to the Rose Quarter station, Hester said both she and Christian got off the train. When he kept threatening her, Hester said she maced him several times. In response Christian, threw his half-full Gatorade bottle at Hester's right eye, leaving a black eye.
"I was concerned for my life," Hester said.
The state showed surveillance video from inside and outside the train that showed the bottle hitting Hester's face.
Next, Bradley Hanson and Andrew Garcia, two TriMet supervisors who responded to the platform that day took the stand.
Hanson testified he caught up with Christian after the attack to ask if he was involved in the fight.
"He said, 'You get away from me or I’ll stab you, I'll stab you,'" Hanson said, adding he took that as a threat, and immediately backed away.
Portland Police Officer Neil Glaskey, who responded to the incident, also testified. He said he was patrolling the Lloyd Center and Moda Center area alone that night, and called for back-up.
While waiting for back-up to arrive, Officer Glaskey testified Christian left the area.
Doctor who treated Fletcher and Namkai-Meche testifies
Thursday afternoon, the trauma doctor who treated Fletcher and Namkai-Meche testified both men had a very similar stab wound on their necks.
Dr. Dean Gubler said Fletcher was lucky, because the knife barely missed his carotid artery and instead hit the jugular. For Namkai-Meche, Dr. Gubler said the wound was fatal.
“It’s not a common way people come in stabbed, with such similar wounds,” Dr. Gubler said.
Christian tells a man after stabbings: 'Am I gonna have to do the same thing to you?'
Alvin Hall, who followed Christian after he ran from the stabbing, testified.
Hall said he saw Christian cleaning blood off his arm and knife using soda, and when Christian noticed him, he held up his knife and yelled, ‘Are you a f****** snitch? Do you want some of this? Am I gonna have to do the same thing to you as I did to those other guys?”
Hall said he ran the opposite way, and Christian gave chase until he was eventually arrested.
The prosecution's last witness was a man who was on the train at the time and recorded a video of the stabbing. He said he couldn't remember what Christian yelled, but said he didn't hear "any comments directed at the girls."
The trial will resume Monday morning.