PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A jury has ruled that Jeremy Christian callously disregarded the lives of the three men he stabbed on a Portland light rail train, was fueled by racist and religious bigotry, poses a future danger and can’t be rehabilitated.
The 12-person jury on Thursday also agreed with a prosecution argument that Christian showed no remorse for his victims, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. Defense attorneys had disagreed ― highlighting Christian’s statements that he felt bad about the death of one victim because the man’s children would grow up without a father. Presumably, Christian was talking about Ricky Best, a father of four.
During court hearings Tuesday and Wednesday, prosecutors asked jurors six questions regarding whether he showed remorse and poses a future danger, among others, related to Christian and his crimes. After deliberating for six hours, jurors answered all six questions yes by unanimous votes.
No sentencing date has been scheduled yet. Multnomah County Circuit Judge Cheryl Albrecht could use the jury’s findings to help determine Christian’s sentence.
Jurors found Christian guilty last week of 12 crimes, including first-degree murder for the deaths of Taliesin Namkai-Meche and Best, attempted first-degree murder for the serious injury of Micah Fletcher and hate crimes against two teenage girls, one who was wearing a hijab, on a crowded train as it pulled into the Hollywood Transit Center in northeast Portland on May 26, 2017.
Oregon’s new first-degree murder law, which took effect Sept. 29, empowers the judge with two sentencing options: Life in prison with a 30-year minimum and what’s known as “true life,” which is life in prison with no possibility of release.
Christian’s defense attorneys, however, are arguing that the new law, passed as Senate Bill 1013 last summer, is unconstitutional and as a result leaves the judge with only one option ― sentencing Christian to life with a 30-year minimum. Defense lawyers and the prosecution plan to debate that during another hearing, which hasn’t been scheduled yet.