16-Year-Old Accused Of Burning Teen On Oakland Bus Ordered To Stand Trial

OAKLAND (CBS / AP) – An East Bay teenager accused of setting the clothing of a gender-neutral teen on fire on a transit bus has been ordered to trial.

Richard Thomas was ordered to stand trial on aggravated mayhem, assault and hate crime charges in an Alameda County courtroom on Thursday.

The 16-year-old boy from Oakland faces a possible life sentence if he’s convicted in the Nov. 4 attack on 18-year-old Sasha Fleischman, who identifies as neither male nor female.

Thomas’ attorney, William DuBois said Thomas waived his right to a preliminary hearing in part to avoid having bus surveillance video of the incident to be played in court before a trial.

Du Bois said homophobia played no role in the bus incident, which he characterizes as an ill-conceived prank gone horribly wrong.

No trial date has been set.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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