California teen in bus attack ordered to trial

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Updated: 3/06 9:40 pm

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A Northern California 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 says 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 says 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.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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