PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Jerimiah Hannon is 15 but he is charged with very adult crimes. The teen is accused of killing a St. Helens 18-year-old whose body was found in a Portland Motel 6, and he’s also accused of brutally beating a man in front of his family on a MAX train.
Both crimes came within a week in late December 2018. Hannon and another teenager were arrested in January for the MAX assault that left Robert Valentino recovering from a broken jaw and the loss of several teeth.
Investigators now say Hannon tried to rob Ian Olson on December 21 before killing him. A housekeeper found Olson shot to death inside the motel near the Oregon Convention Center.
The attack on Valentino — who was on the MAX train with his family — happened 6 days later. Valentino said a group of teens got on the MAX and when he asked them to turn down their music, he was beaten.
“It’s mind boggling to me that this kid, this 15-year-old kid, is doing these crimes of such an adult that’s been in and out of the penitentiary for years,” Valentino told KOIN 6 News on Thursday.
He vividly remembers what happened in the moments before he was attacked on the MAX.
“I remember him coming up and he had a hoodie. And he stepped up to me and he, like, squared off with me, like he was ready to fight me,” he said. “And I’m thinking, ‘You’re a kid.'”
His attacker seemed bold.
“My first thought on him is that this kid is definitely looking for a fight. He’s, like, definitely the instigator,” Valentino said. “He was totally right there in my face.”
Valentino, who is a musician, is slowly healing and working with a dentist to replace his missing teeth. He can’t feel his chin or part of his lips because of nerve damage. But he said the attack won’t define him and he’s getting back to playing — though it remains to be seen how his singing goes.
“Thank God I was able to walk away, that I was able to walk away,” he said. “It’s frightening to think that less than a week” before Hannon allegedly killed Olson.
“So what did he really have to lose? So I’m really blessed that, I could have been shot, could have been killed. So that gives me a completely different perspective on it. It could have been anybody else on that train.”
On Tuesday, a grand jury indicted Hannon in the Motel 6 case for robbery and murder with a firearm. He’s expected to be arraigned Friday.
Robert Valentino, who has a young daughter, said he’s sad at how this case is unfolding.
“You’ve got to wonder where that all comes from. You know, not all kids that go through hell at home end up trying to kill people.”