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On Sept. 29, a new Oregon law went into effect that narrows the definition of aggravated murder, the state's only capital charge. Senate Bill 1013 was the product of a Democratic supermajority in the 2019 Oregon Legislature and was fought vigorously by district attorneys.

LAURIE ISOLA/OPB - Jeremy Christian listens during a hearing in a Multnomah County courtroom in Portland, Ore., on Friday, May 3, 2019. Christian was in court seeking a delay in the beginning of his trial while the state considers changes to its death penalty law.


The Multnomah County District Attorney's Office filed a motion Tuesday that effectively takes the death penalty off the table for Jeremy Christian, the man charged with stabbing three people, killing two of them on-board a Portland light rail train in 2017.

A judge would still need to sign off on the proposed change.

Christian had been charged with two counts of aggravated murder and one count of attempted aggravated murder stemming from the alleged stabbing May 26, 2017, that left Taliesin Namkai-Meche and Ricky Best dead and a third train passenger, Micah Fletcher, badly wounded.

In court papers, prosecutors sought to amend three charges from their original indictment to reflect changes in state law that drastically limit who is eligible for the death penalty in Oregon. The aggravated murder charges would become first-degree murder and the attempted aggravated murder charge would become attempted first-degree murder.

Oregon Public Broadcasting is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. You can find their complete story here.


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