OAKLAND (KCBS) — A 16-year-old boy charged with a hate crime for setting another teen on fire aboard an AC Transit bus in Oakland is expected to enter a plea on Friday. The teen is also expected to be represented by a high-profile attorney.
Defense attorney William Du Bois is planning to represent Richard Thomas, an Oakland high school student who has been charged as an adult in the case.
According to police, 18-year-old Luke “Sasha” Fleischman was sleeping during a ride on the 57 bus when he was set on fire November 5th. Fleischman suffered severe burns from the attack.
Police arrested Thomas soon after in connection with the incident. According to the probable cause declaration, Thomas told the interviewing officer that he attacked Fleischman because he was homophobic.
Fleischman does not identify as either a male or female. He was wearing a skirt at the time of the incident.
It is not yet known what the defense strategy will be in this case. Thomas’ family refused to comment after a brief court hearing on Tuesday, but a representative with the family said Thomas is 16-years-old and deserves a vigorous defense.
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