A friend who showed up in court to support the accused murderer, Jeremy Joseph Christian, offered a clue to how Christian came to be shouting anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim slurs on a MAX train last Friday.
In an interview with WW correspondent Mike Bivins, the friend, who wouldn't give his full name, said he had known Jeremy Christian, 35, for 15 years and explained Christian's views with reference to his experience in prison.
Christian has spent more than half of his adult life in prison.
Asked if the pair had ever been involved in white supremacy, the friend demurred.
"It's not like that," the man says. "When you're in prison you stay with your race. That's what you do."
Christian, who was arraigned yesterday on charges related to the Friday killing of two men and the wounding of a third, had been harassing teenage girls with anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant slurs, according to the charging documents.
"He has his views, and he's entitled to have them," the friend says.
The friend, who gave his age as 55, also defended Christian by claiming that Christian had been attacked on the MAX and was merely defending himself.
Court documents cite video evidence showing that the attack started when Christian shoved Micah Fletcher, the lone survivor of the stabbings, who shoved him back.
Christian's friend himself sported possible symbols of affiliation with hate groups—the red shoelaces he wore to court.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, which keeps a database of symbols that it has identified as affiliated with hate or bigotry, the red laces are a skinhead symbol.