Jeremy Christian has been charged with fatally stabbing two men on a MAX train on May 26, the eve of Ramadan. He’s pleaded not guilty to a 15-count indictment.
“Remember, there are no heroes in this case,” Christian said while exiting the courtroom under heavy security.
Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Albrecht set a bail hearing for Oct. 20. A trial date may also be set during that hearing.
In court documents, prosecutors say Christian, who is white, shouted anti-Muslim slurs at two African-American women, one of whom was wearing a hijab.
During past court appearances, Christian made outbursts and defended his alleged actions. During an appearance June 7, Christian called out one of the victims who was in court.
On Tuesday, he entered the courtroom in blue jail scrubs, his wrists bound by chains and briefly conferred with his attorney. The hearing lasted just minutes.
During the hearing, Christian sat back in his chair. At least eight Multnomah County Sheriff’s Deputies surrounded Christian as he walked briskly out of the third-floor courtroom.
The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office are also investigating the case and could bring federal hate crimes charges.
Christian also faces charges related to an incident on May 25 — the day before the alleged stabbings — involving Demetria Hester.
Hester was in court Tuesday. She said she felt “angry” when she saw Christian. She said she sprayed mace at him during the May 25 incident, also on the MAX.
E.D. Mondaine, vice president of the Portland NAACP, attended the hearing Tuesday. After court, he said that the alleged stabbings on May 26 could have been prevented had police arrested Christian the previous day.
Mondaine owns PoShines, a restaurant in Portland’s Kenton neighborhood, where he said Hester works as a sous chef. He didn’t elaborate on the events of May 25, but said Hester had called the police.
“If there had been arrests made, the real big chance of it not happening the next day is there,” Mondaine said.
In the indictment, Christian is also charged with alleged May 25 crimes against Hester. Those charges include second-degree assault, second-degree intimidation, unlawful use of a weapon and menacing.
Mondaine said he plans to follow the case closely, and hopes to see the community heal.
“We have a unique opportunity in Oregon to show our support for racial equality because of the over-alarming number of Anglo Saxons and the underrepresented number, or the marginalized number of people of color,” he said.
“It’s a prime opportunity for us as people to learn how to become partners with each other.”