PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The lawyers for Jeremy Christian filed a motion in Multnomah County Circuit Court to remove the death penalty as an option when his trial for the MAX train killings begins in early 2020.

Christian is accused of fatally stabbing Ricky Best and Taliesin Namkai-Meche on a MAX train on May 26, 2017. A third passenger — Micah Fletcher — was stabbed in the neck, but survived.

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

His lawyers filed the motion because of a new Oregon law — SB 1013 — that redefines what aggravated murder is. Previously, an aggravated murder conviction brought with it the possibility of a death sentence.

Christian’s attorneys say prosecutors could choose to pursue him under the newly created charge of first-degree murder.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Brent Weisberg says they are working on next steps.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.