Convicted murder Jeremy Christian threatened a Black woman who rebuked him in her testimony during his sentencing hearing on Tuesday.
Christian was sentenced to two consecutive life terms for the 2017 stabbing deaths of Taliesin Namkai-Meche and Ricky Best, reported The Oregonian. He received an additional 25 years for various crimes including the attempted murder of Micah Fletcher, the assault of a Black woman and the verbal harassment of two teenage girls.
Namkai-Meche, Fletcher and Best got into an altercation with Christian after he launched into a racist and xenophobic rant while on a MAX train in Portland on May 26, 2017. The tirade was directed at two teen girls, an African-American girl and a Somali girl in a hijab. Fletcher approached Christian and demanded he stop yelling at the girls. Namkai-Meche tried to film the incident but Christian grabbed his phone and threw it on the floor.
Christian shoved both men and Fletcher pushed back, causing him to fall. That’s when Christian pulled out a folding knife and shoved it into Fletcher’s neck. Namkai-Meche and Best, who was merely a bystander, were also stabbed in the neck. Best died at the scene and Namkai-Meche succumbed to his injuries at a local hospital. Fletcher survived and revealed he suffered from nightmares at the sentencing hearing. Fletcher, Namkai-Meche and Best are all white, as is Christian.
Demetria Hester, the Black woman who was assaulted by Christian the night before the stabbings, also spoke at the hearing. Hester got into an argument with Christian after he went on another tirade while riding the MAX train. She eventually pepper sprayed him and he threw a half-filled Gatorade botte at her, which struck her in the eye. During her testimony, she blamed authorities for not detaining Christian after their confrontation. Hester accused police of racial profiling and treating her like a criminal.
“I blame the system for creating and facilitating people like Jeremy,” she said. “And then we the community have to deal with him.”
“In my case, the white supremacist got special treatment from the police. The police officer believed the assault was made by the assailant. He didn’t believe me or the two TriMet supervisors,” Hester continued. “He refused to detain the assailant and he let him walk away knowing who he was. The officer asked me for my ID and treated me like I was the assailant because of my color.”
The Oregonian newspaper reported that Portland Police Officer Neal Glaske testified at the sentencing hearing that he did not detain Christian for Hester’s assault because he standard procedure is for an officer to refrain from approaching an assault suspect alone — “I’m not sure what their state of mind is going to be,” he said — and he did not have backup. Glaske also testified that he only made contact with the suspect once at the scene, when he yelled from his police cruiser as he was arriving to ask Christian if he’d been involved in the altercation, to which the man replied no.
Hester did not mince words when she spoke on Christian’s character.
“Your mom should have swallowed you,” she said. “You are a waste of breath, and when you die and go to hell, I hope you rot.”
“See you there, b***h,” Christian shouted. He continued to rant as he was escorted out of the courtroom by police.
“I should’ve killed you, b***h,” Christian yelled as he walked out. He attended the remainder of the session virtually.
During his sentencing statement, he insisted the stabbings were self-defense.
“I do regret that two people died, but I do not regret my actions that led to their deaths, nor was it my explicit intent to murder anyone, and if it had been, Micah Fletcher would most assuredly be dead,” he said. “I would’ve stabbed him more than one time, but I stepped over him when he got off that MAX.”