Breaking News
More () »

Psychiatrist contradicts prior witness testimony, says Jeremy Christian isn't autistic

The prosecution's last witness examined Christian and said he doesn't agree with the defense team's psychologist, who said Christian has autism.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A psychiatrist who examined Jeremy Christian testified Friday he doesn't think Christian has autism spectrum disorder, contradicting evidence brought forth by a psychologist who testified for the defense earlier this week.

Christian is accused of going on a hateful rant aimed at two black teen girls aboard that 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.

Prosecutors say Christian took a 4-inch knife from the pocket of his shorts 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.   

For months, Christian's lawyers have planned on using the "guilty except for insanity" defense (GEI) for his murder charges connected to the MAX stabbing in 2017. Under Oregon law, they would have to prove Christian has a qualifying mental disorder, like schizophrenia. 

Autism spectrum disorder counts as one of the disorders, but it isn't often used under the GEI defense.

Dr. Timothy Derning, a forensic psychologist who was brought on by Christian's defense team earlier this week, testified he diagnosed Christian with autism, but added the disorder "cannot fully account for or explain his behavior on the MAX train."

In his testimony for the prosecution's rebuttal, Dr. Alan Newman directly contradicted Dr. Derning, and said he did not think Christian had autism spectrum disorder. 

"He didn't meet the criteria for autism," Dr. Newman said. "I thought he has antisocial personality disorder, which isn't a regular psychiatric disorder. My only order diagnosis was a history of alcohol misuse."

Dr. Newman finished testifying early Friday afternoon. Closing arguments are expected on Wednesday.

Christian has until the case is closed to change his mind on whether he'll testify. 

RELATED: Christian says he won't testify on his own behalf; defense rests

RELATED: Forensic psychologist testifies he diagnosed Jeremy Christian with autism spectrum disorder

Before You Leave, Check This Out