PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Prosecutors on Wednesday will ask a Multnomah County judge to deny Jeremy Christian’s request to have bail set in his aggravated murder trial – calling his actions willful and intentional.
Christian, 35, is accused of stabbing and killing Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche and Ricky Best and severely wounding Micah Fletcher on May 26, 2017 while onboard a TriMet MAX train as it pulled into the Hollywood Transit Station in Northeast Portland.
On Tuesday, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office filed a 6-page memorandum explaining why prosecutors want to keep Christian behind bars. The account provides new information about the events leading up to the triple stabbing and the alleged statements Christian made.
According to the memorandum, on May 26 at 4:19 p.m. Christian boarded the Green Line MAX at the Rose Quarter Transit Center. The train was headed toward Clackamas Town Center. Two teenagers were already on the train — one was an African-American and the other was African-American Muslim who was wearing a traditional Muslim dress.
Shortly after boarding, Christian shouted statements that appeared to target the girls and others, according to the memo.
KOIN 6 News has modified the explicit language for the purposes of publishing.
“Get the f— out!”
“Go home, we need American here!”
“I don’t care if you are ISIS.”
“F— Saudi Arabia.”
“Free speech or die.”
Christian took “large drinks from a bladder-style container of purple liquid” that was later identified by his own statements as sangria wine, according to the memo.
A witness is seen on video starting to interact with Christian. The man told police he attempted to intervene and verbally deescalate the situation, but was unsuccessful and Christian continued shouting
“[The witness] said that, among other statements, [Christian] said something about ‘decapitating heads,’” according to the memo.
The man told police that 2 teenagers “were clearly alarmed and moved away from [Christian].”
The memo explains what police believe happened after the initial encounter.
“…Defendant can be seen in TriMet video and cell phone video taken by passengers making a sudden move in the direction of Namkai-Meche who responded by standing up.”
Christian grabbed a cell phone from Namkai-Meche’s hand and threw it “violently to the ground,” according to the memo. Christian then stood up and placed himself in close proximity to the face of Namkai-Meche and shouted “Oh, do something b—-!”
The video then shows Fletcher standing up next to Namkai-Meche while Christian continuing to shout “Do something!” Christian then shoved Fletcher in the chest,” the memo states.
After shoving Fletcher, Christian then shoved Namkai-Meche in the chest.
According to the memo, “Mr. Fletcher then pulled [Christian] backwards, which caused [Christian] to stumble into some seats.”
Christian then stood back up and was shoved backward again by Fletcher.
The video then shows Christian producing a folding knife and audibly taunting Fletcher by saying: “Go on! Hit me again!”
Fletcher then pushed Christian and the video shows him opening the blade of his knife and stabbing Fletcher in the neck. Christian immediately, after stabbing Fletcher, turned to Meche and swung. At that moment, he stabbed Meche in the neck.
Christian swung again and stabbed Namkai-Meche a second time.
Best “then moved forward to intervene and [Christian] stabbed Best,” according to the memo.
Christian pushed Best into Namkai-Meche who was trying to stop his bleeding in a seat.
Christian then stabbed Best and Namkai-Meche again, according to the memo.
The video also shows Fletcher clutching his neck in an effort to stop the bleeding. He then exited the train to receive medical attention by passengers on the platform until police and other first responders arrived on scene.
After the stabbings, Christian picked up his belongings and left the MAX train onto the platform at Hollywood Transit Center. He continued holding the knife out and threatened several people on the platform before he grabbed a bag dropped by the Muslim teen and threw the bag into the freeway as he exited up the stairs, according to the memo.
Records show that several people told police where Christian was running and police were able to confront him several blocks away.
“Defendant threw the knife at the police vehicle and it bounced off the top of the vehicle to land nearby. The knife was recovered and was found to be a 3-inch folding knife,” according to the memo.
Arrested, recording in patrol car
After he was arrested, Christian was placed in the back of a patrol car that had recording capabilities. According to the memo, during his transport to police headquarters Christian said the following:
“I just stabbed a bunch of m—–f—– in their neck. Just a punk a– bunch of m—–f—–.”
“Get stabbed in your neck if you hate free speech.”
“I’m tearing out m—–f—–‘s throats, you think I give a f— who I spit on.”
“I can die in prison a happy man,” and “”I’m all good. I stabbed the 2 m—–f—– in the neck and I’m happy now. I’m happy now. I can rest easy.”
“I’m a patriot.”
“I’m a patriot and I hope everyone I stabbed died.”
Under Oregon law, a person charged with murder or aggravated murder must not be released if a judge finds the proof is evident or the presumption is strong that the person is guilty.
Kevin Sali, a criminal defense attorney who is not associated with the Christian case, said anyone being held in jail pending trial can ask for a release hearing. During a trial, there are rules of evidence that attorneys must follow when presenting their case to a jury. In a release hearing, those rules are slightly relaxed.
For example, Sali said during a release hearing, hearsay testimony is allowed. On Wednesday, the DA’s Office is expected to call Portland Police Bureau Homicide Detective Michele Michaels. She will be able to testify to things other witnesses saw, heard and told her about the stabbings.
Release hearings are often viewed as a mini-trial. Some prior release hearings in Multnomah County have included opening and closing statements. A judge’s ruling after a release hearing does not indicate guilt or innocence.
Sali said there are generally 3 reasons why a release hearing will be requested. The first, he said, is that the criminal defense attorney and client genuinely believe they have a shot at release or a security reduction. The second reason is a strategic — “Both sides in criminal cases often use these preliminary hearings to strategically advance their overall objects.” During a bail hearing, if witnesses are called to testify, they testify under oath and their stories are essentially locked in the record. During trial, if a witness strays from the earlier testimony, a criminal defense attorney could bring that up to the jury. The third reason a release hearing would be requested – even in so-called slam dunk cases – is because Sali said there are clients who have their own beliefs about how their cases should proceed. By having a release hearing, trust between the client and criminal justice system may develop.
“If the client comes to trust the system that can benefit everyone,” Sali said.
Wednesday’s release hearing for Christian is scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m. before Judge Cheryl A. Albrecht and is expected to last a few hours. Earlier, attorneys had requested an entire day for the hearing, but the request was shortened last month.