Teen accused of Oakland bus fire attack will be tried as adult

A high school student who allegedly set fire to another teenager's skirt on a bus in Oakland will be tried as an adult.

An Alameda County Superior Court judge on Thursday rejected arguments from defense attorneys that 16-year-old Richard Thomas should be tried as a juvenile, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Instead, Richard will face hate-crime charges as an adult.

Thomas allegedly told a police officer after the Nov. 4 incident that he set 18-year-old Luke "Sasha" Fleischman's skirt on fire because he was "homophobic." 

Fleischman, who identifies as neither male nor female, suffered second- and third-degree burns in the attack.

In an interview with CBS San Francisco in late November, Fleischman questioned whether Thomas should be charged as an adult.

"I don't want to be too harsh, just because, people do dumb things," Fleischman said.

Even though he will be tried as an adult, Thomas' attorney, William Du Bois, said that if convicted, the judge left room for his client to be sentenced as a juvenile, the Chronicle reported.

The 16-year-old faces charges of assault and aggravated mayhem with hate-crime enhancements. 


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