An Oregon man convicted of fatally stabbing two people and injuring a third after a hate-filled protest on a Portland light rail in 2017 was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Jeremy Joseph Christian, 38, was convicted by a jury in February of two counts of murder and other charges in the May 26, 2017, stabbing.
Taliesin Namkai-Meche, 23, and Ricky Best, 53, were killed on the train after a hateful, racist tirade. Some of Christian’s complaints were directed at two teenagers, one of whom was wearing a headscarf.
Micah Fletcher, who was 21 at the time of the attack, was injured but survived. Since then she has been plagued by nightmares and started drinking heavily, she said from the stand on Wednesday.
“There is no room in this world that I can enter without at least scanning it first to decide who is the person who is most likely to hurt me, how close they are,” Fletcher said.
He addressed Christian during his statement.
“Although I hope you sit in a cell for the rest of your life so you can never hurt another person, like you hurt those families, again, I hope you find a way to be better than you are today,” he said.
Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Cheryl A. Albrecht sentenced Christian on Wednesday to two consecutive terms of life in prison without the possibility of release or parole, as well as 310 months, or just under 26 years, to comply with those sentences.
“The resulting convictions do little to ease the pain,” Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill said in a statement. “But they do show those who foster hatred what our community can and will do to combat that evil as we move forward together.”
Christian has shown no remorse and “believes his crimes are justified based on his concepts of ‘freedom of expression’,” prosecutors said in a sentencing recommendation.
A psychiatrist who examined him stated that Christian suffers from antisocial personality disorder, prosecutors wrote. They added that he has shown concern only for himself.
Christian saw the testimony on a monitor in another courtroom, reported NBC affiliate KGW of Portland.
“I regret that two people died, but I do not regret my actions that led to their death. Nor was it my explicit intention to murder anyone,” he said, according to the station.
While Christian was abusing people on the day of the attack, Namkai-Meche apparently tried to record it on a cell phone. Christian grabbed the phone, threw it to the ground, and, in seconds, pulled out a knife and stabbed Namkai-Meche, Best and Fletcher, prosecutors said.
Christian said he felt confronted. He said Best was nearby and had done nothing more than “just assess that it was a threat,” The Oregonian reported.
Christian was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder; one count of attempted first-degree murder; one count of assault in the first degree; one count of second degree assault; three counts of bullying in the second degree; two counts of illegal use of a weapon; and two charges of threat.
His family said in a 2017 statement that they could not “begin to understand this pointless act” and denounced racism. They also offered sincere condolences to the victims.