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Christian shouts 'I'm the victim!' in courtroom

Double-murder defendant Jeremy Christian couldn’t contain himself as one of the named victims in the case against him spoke during a hearing Friday.

Demetria Hester, who is African American and says Christian threw a Gatorade bottle at her face the day before he fatally stabbed two men on a MAX train, was in court to urge the judge not to postpone Christian’s aggravated murder trial, which is scheduled to start June 24. Just after Hester described what Christian had done as a “senseless hate crime,” Christian unleashed.

“Manufactured!” Christian yelled, from his seat on the other side of the courtroom.

Hester stopped speaking as all attention turned toward Christian.

“Uh, you need to be quiet or I’ll have you removed from the courtroom,” said Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Albrecht.

“All right,” Christian responded, pointing his finger at Hester. “...I really don’t care. I’m the victim. You’re on video macing me. Liar. Liar. Liar.”

Christian stood up toward Hester, and continued, his face animated. Two deputies moved in and grabbed his arms.

“You’re not the only black person on MAX,” Christian continued, as deputies then took out a pair of handcuffs and restrained him. “Liar. Manufacturing hate crimes. Liar.”

“You’re on video, you liar,” Christian said, as deputies whisked him out of the courtroom. “Coming to court, lie. Your hate crimes. Manufacturing hate crimes in 2017. Yeah, Keep Portland Weird.”

Albrecht, the judge, said the hearing would continue without Christian because he’d forfeited his right to be there. The hearing was to discuss a request by Christian’s lawyers for the court system to hand over information about its process of selecting jurors.

Christian’s outburst was reminiscent of the early days of his case, shortly after his arrest, when he yelled or waved a “Don’t Tread on Me” sign at alleged victims or their families as they sat in the courtroom. But Christian had refrained from making any scenes for the past 1-1/2 years of hearings.

During Friday’s hearing, the judge said she wouldn’t make any rulings on the defense request to postpone the trial. She said she’d address that request during a hearing next Friday.

It’s unclear how long of a postponement Christian’s lawyers want. But the defense attorneys said in court papers sent to the judge Thursday that they need more time to prepare for trial and that they want to allow more time for settlement negotiations, which could end up negating the need for a trial altogether.

In December 2017, prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to schedule the trial for five weeks starting June 24, 2019. That’s more than two years after Christian, 36, was arrested on accusations of fatally stabbing Ricky Best and Taliesin Namkai-Meche, who graduated from Ashland High School, in the neck on a MAX train May 26, 2017, as it pulled into Hollywood MAX station.

Jeremy Christian appears in court on October 3, 2018 (Contributed Image)