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The man accused of fatally stabbing two people and severely wounding a third during a hate-filled tirade on a Portland train shouted that he was “not guilty” and targeted his surviving victim during an outburst in court Wednesday morning.
Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, appeared briefly in handcuffs and a white jumpsuit during an arraignment on Wednesday before shouting that he was “not guilty of anything but defending myself against violent aggression by Micah Fletcher!" He was then led away by authorities.
Christian was indicted by a grand jury on the 15 charges he faces on Tuesday, but didn't appear in court until Wednesday.
Fletcher, 21, was stabbed in the neck but survived the May 26 ordeal, where police claim Christian stabbed three people who tried to intervene in a hate-filled rant on a train.
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Authorities said in court documents that the Fletcher’s stab wound missed being a fatal injury by mere millimeters.
Fletcher was sitting in the courtroom during the hearing, according to NBC affiliate KGW.
Christian is facing aggravated murder, attempted murder and other related counts and pleaded not guilty to all 15 charges he faces, a clerk for the Multnomah County Circuit Court in Portland told NBC News. He was scheduled to appear in court next on July 19.
Authorities have said Christian began shouting "hate speech" including anti-Muslim comments on a light-rail train in Portland on the afternoon of May 26. Some of the rants were directed at two young girls, one of whom was wearing a head scarf.
He then stabbed three people who tried to intervene, killing 53-year-old Army veteran and father of four Rick Best and 23-year-old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, while wounding Fletcher, according to authorities.
Fletcher has urged well-wishers to also remember the two girls who were the original targets of the suspect's tirade.
"This is about them, that they are the real victims here as well," Fletcher said in a six-minute video posted on Facebook.
Christian's family said in a statement last week that they "cannot begin to understand this senseless act" and denounce racism and bigotry.
"The Christian Family offer their heartfelt condolences to those men who lost their lives at the hands of their son on May 26, 2017," they said in a statement.
This was not Christian’s first outburst in court. During an appearance last week, he shouted “free speech or die” and "death to the enemies of America."