A man accused of fatally stabbing two people who prosecutors say tried to stop his racist tirade against two young black women on a Portland, Ore., commuter train was convicted of murder Friday after an emotional trial that featured testimony from both women and the sole survivor of the attack nearly three years ago. Jurors found Jeremy Christian, 37, guilty of the deaths of Taliesin Namkai-Meche and Ricky Best, the AP reports. He also was convicted of attempted murder for stabbing survivor Micah Fletcher and assault and menacing for shouting slurs and throwing a bottle at a black woman on another light-rail train the day before the May 2017 stabbings. A judge last year dismissed charges of aggravated murder—which carries a potential death sentence—because of a new Oregon law that narrows the definition of aggravated murder.
Per prosecutors, Christian boarded the train on May 26, 2017, and began shouting racist, anti-Muslim, and xenophobic slurs at the two black women. One was an immigrant from Somalia and wore a Muslim headscarf. During his tirade, Christian got into confrontations with Namkai-Meche and Fletcher and took out a 4-inch folding knife and stabbed them. Authorities say he also stabbed a third passenger, Ricky Best, standing nearby. Namkai-Meche and Best died at the scene of stab wounds to the neck; Fletcher was seriously injured but survived. Christian stabbed the men 11 times in 11 seconds. The stabbings' racial undertones shook Portland, which prides itself on its liberal and progressive reputation but also grapples with a racist past that included limits on where black families could live and a neo-Nazi community so entrenched that the city was once nicknamed "Skinhead City."
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