Suspect in Portland light-rail stabbings guilty on all counts

MAX stabbing suspect Jeremy Christian appears in court in Portland, Ore., for a bail hearing. (Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP)

The man who fatally stabbed two men who confronted him in 2017 during a racist rant on a Portland, Oregon, light-rail train was found guilty Friday on all 12 counts.

Jeremy Christian is guilty of two first-degree murder counts, three counts of second-degree intimidation, first-degree assault, second-degree assault and first-degree attempted murder.

Jurors were unanimous on all verdicts.

The day before the attack, Christian had said: “'I’m about to stab some (expletives)," prosecutor Jeff Howes told jurors. "... A racist white supremacist, large former prisoner who got into many, many fights in prison says that statement undaunted, out of nowhere.”

Defense attorney Greg Scholl said the events on May 26, 2017, might have turned out much differently had Micah Fletcher. who tried to get Christian to leave the train, had not approached Christian so aggressively.

“We live in a world where confronting a loud and annoying and obnoxious person in the wrong way can lead to catastrophic results. And that is what happened in this case," Scholl said.

Christian was charged with the first-degree murders of Taliesin Namkai-Meche, 23, and Ricky Best, 53, and the first-degree attempted murder of Fletcher, then 21.

According to court documents, Christian boarded the train and began shouting racist, anti-Muslim and xenophobic slurs at the two young women, one of whom was Muslim.

As his outburst continued, Christian grabbed Namkai-Meche's phone and threw it to the ground. Authorities said 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 folding knife and stabbed Fletcher and Namkai-Meche, prosecutors said. Authorities say he also stabbed Best who had tried to intervene. Namkai-Meche and Best died at the scene of stab wounds to the neck. Fletcher was seriously injured.

Christian is also charged with assault and menacing for shouting slurs and throwing a bottle at a black woman on another light-rail train the day before the stabbings.

Multnomah County Circuit Judge Cheryl Albrecht sent the case to jurors to begin deliberations shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday. Jurors returned Thursday morning.

Information from the KIRO 7 staff is included in this report.

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