Lawyer for MAX attack suspect will argue against death penalty

Two of the victims, 53-year-old Ricky John Best and 23-year-old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, were killed.

Posted: Oct 22, 2018 4:26 PM
Updated: Oct 22, 2018 7:41 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) -- A pre-trial hearing for self-proclaimed white supremacist Jeremy Christian began Monday in which his attorney will argue against a potential death penalty.

On Monday, the closest Christian's defense lawyers got to arguing against the death penalty was a motion to disallow victim impact evidence and aggravating evidence in the penalty phase of the trial, should it come to that.

In the following days, the defense will argue that capital punishment is unconstitutional in Oregon, based on several principles, including that lethal injection can cause severe pain. The lawyer will also argue that Christian has mental health issues.

The hearing is expected to last three days. There are 51 items on the pretrial agenda, a majority brought by Christian's defense attorneys. The murder trial for Christian is set for June 2019.

Unlike past appearances, during Monday's hearing, Christian remained calm.

On May 26, 2017, Christian spewed hate speech at two black teenage girls on a MAX train in Portland, and then allegedly stabbed three men who stepped in to intervene.

Two of the victims, 53-year-old Ricky John Best and 23-year-old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, were killed. The third victim, 21-year-old Micah Fletcher, was wounded but survived.

Police say Christian confessed to the killings.

Before the fatal attack, Christian was arrested multiple times over a decade and a half. The day before the stabbings he was accused of throwing a bottle of Gatorade at a black woman on a MAX train.

Christian was also thrown out of an alt-right event in Portland in April 2017 for making racist comments.

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