PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A judge has sentenced Jeremy Christian to spend the rest of his life in prison for fatally stabbing two people during his racist rant on a light-rail train in Portland, Oregon.
Multnomah County Circuit Judge Cheryl Albrecht sentenced Christian to two life sentences after listening to statements from Christian’s victims or victims’ relatives Tuesday and Wednesday. Taliesin Namkai-Meche, 23, and Ricky Best, 53, died from knife wounds to the neck, and Micah Fletcher survived after Christian also stabbed him in the neck on May 26, 2017.
Christian boarded the train during the evening commute and began shouting racist, anti-Muslim and xenophobic slurs at the two young Black women, prosecutors said. One was an immigrant from Somalia and wore a Muslim headscarf. Some witnesses said Christian in his outburst made a slicing motion across his neck and mentioned decapitating people.
As his tirade continued, Christian grabbed Namkai-Meche’s cellphone as he tried to film and threw it to the ground. Authorities say Fletcher stood up to intervene and got into a shoving match with Christian, who was taunting the men to “do something” to stop him.
Christian then took out a 4-inch (10-centimeter) folding knife and stabbed Fletcher and Namkai-Meche, prosecutors said. Authorities say he also stabbed Best, who was standing nearby.
Jurors in February found Christian, 38, guilty of the deaths of Namkai-Meche and Best. He was convicted of attempted murder for stabbing Fletcher and assault and menacing for shouting slurs and hitting a Black woman with a bottle on another light rail train the day before the stabbings.
The judge sentenced him to more than 25 years for those crimes.
Many of the victims and their relatives urged the judge to never let Christian into society again and stressed the need for systemic change in a world that doesn’t want to own up to the circumstances that allowed Christian to act on his beliefs unfettered.
Christian, via a video feed from a remote room in the courthouse, said, “I do regret that two people died, but I do not regret my actions.”