An Oregon jury on Friday found a self-proclaimed white nationalist guilty on all charges related to a gruesome fatal stabbing on a rush hour Portland train on May 26, 2017, the Oregonian reported.
The jurors deliberated for 11 hours before finding Jeremy Christian of first degree murder in the deaths of Taliesin Namkai-Meche, 23, and Ricky Best, 53, and the wounding of Micah Fletcher, then 21, as they tried to intervene while Christian spewed hateful, racist rhetoric at two black girls on the train.
The jury found Christian guilty of second degree intimidation for his rant at the two girls, one an African American and the other a Somali immigrant wearing a hijab. They also found him guilty of second-degree intimidation, second-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon and menacing for an incident the night before on another train. In that incident, Demetria Hester was hit in the eye by a bottle thrown by Christian after she asked him to stop shouting “that he was a Nazi, that he hated all Muslims, blacks, Jews.”
The jury was unanimous in all its verdicts, including unlawful use of a weapon and menacing against another passenger, Shawn Forde, when Christian disembarked from the train after the stabbings. He fled the train station and was captured about a mile away because passengers and other bystanders followed him and told police where he was.
Fletcher, Hester, Forde, and relatives of Namkai-Meche and Best were in the courtroom when the verdicts were announced.
The entire incident — including Christian’s six-minute rant before the stabbings — was caught on multiple cameras, both surveillance cameras and passenger cell-phones, giving the jury a thorough look at what took place. More than a dozen commuters who witnessed the stabbings testified during the trial.
A date for sentencing has not been set. The judge has options in sentencing, ranging from “true life” — Christian would spend the rest of his life in prison with no chance of parole — or life with a 30-year minimum. If the judge chooses the later option, she could order consecutive sentences, meaning Christian could serve at least 60 years, plus any time added on for the other charges.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Christian hae a criminal record and a history of engaging in hate speech against non-whites. Christian reportedly went to the city’s March for Free Speech on April 29, 2017, carrying a baseball bat and attempting to assault liberal protesters. He reportedly gave the Nazi salute and shouted racial slurs.
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[Featured image: Jeremy Christian/Portland Police Department]