Teen to be tried as adult in alleged attack on gender activist

Jan. 17, 2014 at 3:45 PM

OAKLAND, Calif., Jan. 17 (UPI) -- A 16-year-old boy accused of setting a transgender activist on fire on an Oakland city bus will be tried as an adult, a California judge has ruled.

Attorney William Du Bois said the judge could consider sentencing his client, Richard Thomas, as a juvenile if he is convicted, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday.

Prosecutors have charged Thomas with with aggravated mayhem, assault and hate-crime enhancements for allegedly setting fire to the skirt of Luke Fleischman, 18, as he slept on the bus Nov. 4.

Fleischman, who goes by the name Sasha, was born male but does not identify as male or female. He has campaigned for recognition of a "non-binary" gender.

Oakland police have said Thomas told them he is "homophobic" and that's why he attacked Fleischman.

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