Multnomah County Circuit Judge Cheryl Albrecht sentenced Jeremy Christian to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Wednesday morning for the 2017 fatal MAX train stabbings that left two dead and another wounded.
Albrecht sentenced Christian to two consecutive life sentences: one for the death of Ricky Best and another for the death of Taliesin Namkai-Meche.
"It is my sincere hope that you one day are able to gain insight, accept responsibility, to not confuse the force of power of free speech with inflicting your will on other people," Albrecht said during the sentencing hearing Wednesday.
Christian viewed the hearing from a separate courtroom via video conference, where he was seated in a wheelchair. On Tuesday, Albrecht had ejected him after he screamed at one of his victims as she provided an impact statement. He was not allowed back.
After 10 am Tuesday, Christian, 38, provided a statement of allocution in which he said he has no remorse for his actions that led to the deaths of Best and Namkai-Meche, the stabbing of Micah Fletcher, and the assault of Demetria Hester.
"I do regret that two people died, but I don't regret the actions that led up to their deaths," Christian said. "It was not hate speech on the MAX. It may have been designed to show the knee-jerk reaction of liberals.…It was designed to gain a reaction. Not to murder anyone, but to say that I have the right to free speech."
During Wednesday's sentencing hearing, Fletcher gave a powerful statement about the impact the attack had on him.
"You are not some mythological, all-powerful, terrorist monster," Fletcher said to Christian. "You were a man who was drunk with a knife on a train."
Multnomah County Chief Deputy District Attorney Don Rees called on Albrecht to give Christian two consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.
"The motive was clear: hate and racism," Rees said.
One of Christian's attorneys, Greg Scholl, maintained the assertion Wednesday that Christian was a "provocateur" who was expressing his right to free speech on the train.
"Jeremy Christian did not have the intention to harm anyone when he boarded the train that day," Scholl said. "The court will not only sentence Jeremy Christian today.…You will not only sentence him but all of us. And, in a way, you will sentence yourself."
Christian's sentencing had been delayed three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Back in February, jurors found Christian guilty of the murders of Best and Namkai-Meche and the stabbing of Fletcher, the three men who interrupted his racist rant on a Portland MAX train in 2017.
Jurors in February convicted him of murder in the first degree, attempted murder in the first degree, assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, intimidation in the second degree, unlawful use of a weapon, and menacing. The verdict was unanimous on all counts.