Jeremy Christian now faces 1st-degree murder charges

Crime

Trial expected to begin January 21, 2020

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Accused MAX killer Jeremy Christian was in a Multnomah County courtroom Friday as charges against him were amended.

Earlier this week, prosecutors filed a motion to take the death penalty off the table for Christian. He was initially charged with 2 counts of aggravated murder and one count of attempted aggravated murder in the killings that left Taliesin Namkai-Meche and Ricky Best dead and a third train passenger, Micah Fletcher, badly wounded on May 26, 2017.

max attack victims ricky best micah fletcher   Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche
(L-R) Ricky Best, Taliesin Namkai-Meche, Micah Fletcher, 2017 (KOIN, file)

Lawmakers recently changed the definition and requirements for aggravated murder charges. Someone would have to kill two or more people as an act of organized terrorism to be convicted.

On Friday, the judge amended the charges to 1st-degree murder and 1st-degree attempted murder.

Earlier in the hearing, before Christian was brought into court the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office argued he is a threat to safety in the courtroom based on prior courtroom behavior over the course of the past 2 years.

In April 2019, Christian had to be restrained by deputies when he shouted and pushed back from the defense table during an earlier hearing.

Judge Cheryl Albrecht ordered him to be in belly chains and leg restraints during the course of Friday’s hearing.

Judge Cheryl Albrecht in her Multnomah County courtroom, November 1, 2019 (KOIN)

When he arrived, Judge Albrecht warned him not to make any comments in the courtroom without first talking to his lawyers. She also said any comments he makes in open court must be directed only to her or she would remove him from the courtroom.

“OK, well, I heard victims aren’t victims anymore,” he said.

Albrecht cut him off. “That’ll be all today.”

Trial set for January 2020

Sometime in December, another procedure will take place to discuss jury questionnaires. A jury will begin to be selected on January 10, 2020 for jury selection. The trial is set to begin on January 21, with witnesses set for the week of January 27.

Jeremy Christian in a pre-trial hearing in Multnomah County, November 1, 2019 (KOIN)

When the prosecution suggested opening statements could begin on January 27, Judge Albrecht said, “We’ll see how it goes.”

The prosecution expects to take 2 weeks to present its case and the defense is expected to take one week. Rebuttal should take a few days and Judge Albrecht anticipates the trial should be over by February 28.

KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this case.

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