PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A surgeon testified about the “devastating” injuries the MAX attack victims suffered. A woman testified about how she was assaulted by Jeremy Christian the night before the MAX attack. TriMet supervisors testified about the threats they heard from the accused killer.
Those were among the 8 witnesses who closed out the first week of testimony in the MAX attack trial. Jeremy Christian is accused of killing Taliesin Namkai-Meche and Ricky Best and nearly killing Micah Fletcher on a Green Line train at the Hollywood Transit Center on May 26, 2017.
Here is a recap of Friday’s testimony in the Multnomah County courtroom of Judge Cheryl Albrecht.
‘He had died before he arrived’
Dr. Kelly Dean Gubler was on duty at Legacy Emanuel on May 26, 2017. He was the one who did the first examinations of Taliesin Namkai-Meche and Micah Fletcher.
“The most remarkable part of (Taliesin’s) injury was there was a lot of blood but no evidence of active bleeding,” Gubler testified. “So what that meant was he didn’t have blood in his body to bleed any more or didn’t have cardiac activity. So he essentially bled all of the blood supply out of his neck.”
“In reality, he had died before he arrived.”
Fletcher, though, had normal vital signs which gave the doctors time to do an examination.
“He had a very, very similar injury looking at the surface. It was a little bit higher … caught a piece of the jawbone and fractured that … then it went down,” he said.
The carotid artery wasn’t cut but Fletcher’s jugular vein was lacerated — but his wound was “less than a full centimeter from getting both of them.”
The wounds to Fletcher and Namkai-Meche were very similar, Gubler said.
In 30+ years of experience, he’s never seen two victims with such similar wounds from the same incident.
“That’s not a common way people come in stabbed.”
The night before the MAX attack
Demetria Hester talked about her encounter with Christian on May 25, 2017 while she was riding the Yellow Line. That night, she said, she sat in the lone seat behind the conductor at the front of the train, a mirrored spot where she could see what was going on behind her. That is the spot where she always sits, she said.
Christian was sitting on the lower platform between 2 doors facing the back of the train, she said. But she could hear him “yelling, ranting and raving” about “Nazis, that he hated all Muslims, blacks, Jews, and wanted to kill them, they shouldn’t be in his country riding his train.”
Hester said she couldn’t believe what she was hearing and said she told him to shut up and that “no one wanted to be threatened because of their race, gender, creed or color.”
She testified he replied, “F— you, b—-. I can say what I want to say. This is my train. If you don’t like it, get off. I pay taxes. You don’t.”
Eventually she fired back that she pays taxes, too, and has a right to free speech. Hester, who said she always travels by herself, said she began to go into fight-or-flight mode, wondering how she would protect herself. She told the jury she carries Mace and a knife with her.
Throughout the rant, Hester said she knocked on the conductor’s door multiple times but never got a response from the conductor. No one else on the train that night responded to Christian’s ranting.
“They were just minding their business,” Hester said. But Christian responded to her.
“He said, ‘You can’t talk to me like that b—-, I’ll f— you up. I won’t rape you but I’ll kill you.'”
As the train arrived at the platform where Hester needed to catch a connecting train, she says Christian — who had also gotten up to exit — told her: “B—-, you’re about to get it.” He also allegedly told her that he would kill her the next time he saw her.
Surveillance video captured what happened on the platform.
She said she had her Mace in her hand. In response to his threats, she says she sprayed a continuous stream of Mace at him, hitting him on the back of his jacket and in his face.
During cross examination, the defense asked if Christian had been walking away from Hester. She answered emphatically that he was not.
“I continue to spray, I never let up, and he throws the (Gatorade) bottle to my right eye, so hard,” she recalls. “Like a baseball, a bullet.” She says she felt her eye swelling up immediately.
She stumbled over to the other platform and wiped her bloody eye.
Prosecutors asked what her goal was, still, that night. Hester shook her head and exhaled. “To go home.”
Christian was not arrested that night, Hester said.
TriMet supervisors and responding officer
The next 3 witnesses were TriMet supervisors Andrew Garcia and Bradley Hanson and PPB Officer Neal Glaske.
Garcia said Hanson went on the train to see what was going on at the same time that Christian and Hester got off.
Hester told Garcia Christian was yelling racial slurs, and Garcia said he heard Christian say, “Next time I see you I’m gonna kill you.”
That’s when Hester peppersprayed Christian in the back of the head, he testified. Christian turned and hurled the Gatorade bottle, hitting Hester in the eye.
When Officer Glaske arrived, Garcia said he urged the officer to stop Christian from leaving the scene. Glaske said he was waiting for backup and during this time Christian walked away, Garcia said.
Hanson, now retired, testified he walked toward Christian to ask if he was involved in this assault.
“You get away from me or I’ll stab you. I’ll stab you,” Hanson said Christian told him.
Asked if he took that threat seriously, Hanson chuckled. “Yes, I did. It was pretty intense.” He said Christian was bigger, younger and “wound up.”
After Hester was checked out by medical personnel, Hanson said he had an extra service bus give her a ride home since the final Green Line train had already left the station.
‘No concern whatsoever the police were on scene’
Portland Police Officer Neal Glaske, who was working in the Traffic Division out of the North Precinct that night, then took the stand.
Around 11:30 p.m. he was sent to a disturbance at the station between people that involved pepper spray and a thrown object.
When he was pulling up to the station, he saw a group of people standing on the sidewalk nearby. He asked if any of them were involved in or had witnessed the incident.
A man he now knows is Christian answered, “No,” Glaske testified.
After talking with the TriMet supervisors and Hester, Glaske said he realized Christian was the man involved. At the time, he says Christian was just standing around.
“He had no concern whatsoever that police were on scene.”
Glaske testified he was waiting for another officer to arrive for safety reasons, but that officer was coming from another incident far away.
He saw Christian start to walk away and said he got into his patrol car to follow him. Once he turned the car around, “Mr. Christian was no longer in sight.”
During cross examination, Christian’s lawyers inquired about Glaske’s police report, in which he took statements from both TriMet supervisors, confirming that they told Glaske they heard the suspect say “Don’t ever talk to me that way, b” and that he would “Hit a b.”
The defense also asked if Glaske ever treated Hester disrespectfully. During her testimony earlier this morning, Hester told the jury Glaske “treated me like I was the assailant.”
Glaske told the defense that he was professional, respectful, and polite.
The defense asked about a box on his report from that night labeled “bias.” Glaske wrote “non” and put in parenthesis “no bias.”
Prosecutors countered that checking the box or not doesn’t change the nature of the incident. Glaske agreed. Prosecutors said that, even without checking the box, the report was routed to someone who investigates bias crimes.
They also confirmed the sequence of events, as reported to Glaske by all 3 people he spoke to that night (Garcia, Hanson, and Hester): Christian made a verbal threat, Hester deployed pepper spray, Christian threw the bottle.
Charges against Jeremy Christian
Christian has pleaded not guilty to these 12 charges: two counts of first-degree murder, one count of first-degree attempted murder, one count of first-degree assault, one count of second-degree assault, three counts of second-degree intimidation, two counts of unlawful use of a weapon and two counts of menacing.
KOIN 6 News will be in the courtroom each day of the trial.
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