The sentencing hearing for Jeremy Christian was filled with emotion Tuesday as victims and their families gave statements about the lasting impact of the 2017 MAX train stabbings that left two dead and another critically wounded.
The defense and prosecution spent the better part of the morning arguing whether Christian, 38, should be given a "true life sentence" with no chance of parole, or 30 years in prison.
For the first two hours of the sentencing hearing, Christian sat quietly in his blue jail uniform and fiddled with his black face covering.
Tensions in the courtroom escalated shortly after 11 am, when Demetria Hester, a Black woman whom Christian assaulted the night prior to the fatal stabbings, gave a victim's impact statement.
"In my case, the white supremacist got special treatment from the police," Hester said when describing the assault. "The officer asked me for my ID and treated me like I was the assailant because of my color. The officer let Jeremy walk away to commit the senseless murders.…The police captured—not killed—a racist white supremacist known to the police, holding the bloody knife he attacked and killed people with."
"To Jeremy Christian," Hester continued, "your mom should have swallowed you. You are a waste of breath. And when you die and go to hell, I hope you rot."
"See you there, bitch," Christian responded. He then stood up abruptly and threw off his mask as sheriff's deputies surrounded him.
"I should have killed you, bitch!" Christian shouted at Hester. Sheriff's deputies hauled him out of the courtroom, and Judge Cheryl Albrecht announced he wouldn't return.
Until court closed at 5 pm, more victims and family members provided statements, including slaying victim Ricky Best's son, Erik.
"He truly was a great father," Erik Best said. "He was the type of man that saw gasoline being poured on fire and he couldn't just stand by and do nothing.…Society lost the type of man that you want through the hard times, the rough times."
"I don't feel any hatred for Jeremy Christian," Best continued. "Why would you hate a rabid dog? It's just a force of nature. It just happens. Though I do wish the jurors and the judge, to the best of her ability, prevent him from ever harming another soul."
At 3 pm, Albrecht allowed witnesses to provide victim impact statements via livestream. Christian sat in another courtroom surrounded by sheriff's deputies where he could watch and listen.
The older sister of Taliesin Namkai-Meche, whom Christian killed during the attack, provided a tearful statement.
"He had big dreams, and we all dreamed with him," Vajra Alaya-Maitreya said. "My brother stood up on that train because he had a strong moral compass, because he wanted to be a good ally.…If he was alive today, you can bet that he would be protesting every night. He would be showing up for this world and the community and holding socially distanced barbecues in the backyard."
Other victims who didn't get the chance to speak today, including Micah Fletcher, will have time to make their statements tomorrow.
Christian is expected to be sentenced Wednesday, June 24. He faces life in prison.