Jeremy Christian Found Guilty of Manslaughter Should Be the Verdict

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Jeremy Christian should be found guilty of manslaughter now that the jury has finally heard both sides. A manslaughter verdict would mean that Jeremy Christian intentionally stabbed two men to death on a Max train in 2017, but that he was suffering from an extreme emotional disturbance that caused him to use deadly force while defending himself from a violent felony being committed against him by Micah Fletcher.

Jeremy Joseph Christian suffers from Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and alcoholism. The result was a drunk guy unable to cope with the "fight or flight" response caused by his PTSD in an emotionally charged situation. Unable to cope because unbeknown to him, he also has ASD. People with ASD have a much harder time coping with symptoms of PTSD. The combination of the two can be a ticking time bomb. Situations like suddenly finding himself being thrown on the ground and being told to get off the Max can only happen to someone with these diagnoses so many times before it ends badly.

Make no mistake, Micah Fletcher committed coercion against Jeremy Christian by using violent force in an attempt to make him get off the train. A person commits the crime of coercion when they attempt to compel someone to do something they have a legal right not to do by instilling in that person a fear that if they do not engage in the conduct that the perpetrator wants them to engage in, they will suffer physical injury. Under the law any any amount of pain is considered an injury. Fletcher does not work for Tri-Met or the police, so he has no legal right to kick anyone off the train. He admitted that his goal became the removal of Christian from the train and that he was using force to further that goal. Learn more:

Prosecutor Jeff Howes admitted during his closing argument that self-defense applies when a defendant reasonable believes that a violent felony is being or about to be committed against their person. Under the law a violent crime is defined as any crime that contains an "element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force." United States v. Walton, 881 F.3d 768 (9th Cir. 2018). The only real issue here is whether or not Christian's response was proportional to the threat. Christian did not have time to make a reasonable decision because of his diagnoses. That is why this is a manslaughter case. Howes is right that what happened is indisputable, but he wrong as to why it happened. Why it happened is what makes the difference between murder and manslaughter.

The fact that Ricky Best was stabbed at all further supports the position that Jeremy Christian was under the influence of an extreme emotional disturbance. Christian has expressed remorse for the deaths since the incident, especially the death of Best. Best by all accounts was not really doing much if anything at all. In the cell phone videos that have surfaced people see plenty of Fletcher giving Christian an excuse to stab him, but Best was just standing in the wrong place at the wrong time by all accounts. Jeff Howes was right when he said that no reasonable person in Christian's shoes would have responded the way Christian did as far as Best is concerned. That does not prove that Best was murdered. It shows that his killer was not in a reasonably competent mental state to make a reasonable decision at the time. Someone on auto pilot due to the "flight or fight" response brought on by his PTSD and unable to control it due in part to his ASD. By standing in the wrong place at the wrong time, Ricky Best did just enough to make Christian perceive him as a threat along with the others. A normal person would not have perceived him as such, but Christian is not normal and was not mentally competent to do a proper threat evaluation of Best.

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