PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — When the testimony of Dr. Alan Newman concluded Friday afternoon, the witness phase of the Jeremy Christian trial came to an end after 3 weeks.
Christian, 37, is accused of killing Ricky Best and Taliesin Namkai-Meche and critically wounding Micah Fletcher on the Green Line train as it arrived at the Hollywood Transit Center.
Newman, a California psychiatrist who examined Christian, spent about 5 hours on the stand. He wrapped around 2:30 p.m.
Judge Cheryl Albrecht excused the jury for the rest of the day, then reviewed the jury instructions with the lawyers.
Closing arguments are scheduled to begin on Tuesday morning before the case officially goes to the jury.
Psychiatrist: No autism, not a psychopath
Dr. Alan Newman, the chair of the Department of Psychiatry for the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, was sworn in as the prosecution’s final rebuttal witness.
Earlier in the trial, psychologists who interviewed Christian testified about their impressions. The difference between them and Newman is that a psychiatrist is also a trained medical doctor.
Newman met with Christian in June 2019 and said he was able to hold a “courteous” conversation with him about a range of topics including free speech, philosophy and comic books.
“I felt like he was someone if you showed him respect and listened, he was going to be courteous back,” Newman testified.
The psychologists testified they believed Christian was on the autism spectrum, but Newman disagreed. He said he found “antisocial personality disorder” was a better explanation.
Society has been experiencing “diagnosis creep” with autism — that is, more people get diagnosed with it as it gets more popular in the media, Newman said.
Dr. Newman said he also did not find Christian to demonstrate psychopathy. Christian had an elevated score on a common test for psychopathy, but Newman said it was below the cutoff.
“I do not believe he’s a psychopath.”
Newman offered two diagnoses of Christian: antisocial personality disorder and alcohol use disorder. He said Christian described a history of alcohol use and times it negatively impacted his life.
“What is clear is that he drinks and he drinks regularly, and it does have some impact on his behavior,” Newman said.
However, Newman does not believe Christian was intoxicated at the time of the MAX stabbing (because he was walking steadily, speaking clearly, etc). Newman thinks he was just disinhibited.
There was one area where Newman appeared to disagree with the prosecution’s planning argument. He said Christian’s episodes of violence appear to be very sudden.
“I don’t think there’s any evidence that he got on the MAX that day expecting this to happen.”
THE CHARGES AND THE TRIAL
The trial started January 28 at the Multnomah County Courthouse. Witnesses have provided painful first-hand accounts of what happened on the Green Line train at the Hollywood Transit Center on May 26, 2017.
Jeremy Christian has pleaded not guilty to 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.
Digital reporter Hannah Ray Lambert covers the Jeremy Christian trial for KOIN 6 News and KOIN.com. Follow her on Twitter for an updated, minute-by-minute breakdown of the testimony.
KOIN 6 News will be in the courtroom each day
and provide updates throughout the case