Cab driver arrested for stabbing passenger

April 10, 2009 1:43:31 PM PDT
A cab driver who was convicted of second-degree murder when he was a juvenile was arrested Thursday for allegedly stabbing a man in his cab during an altercation early that morning, according to the Santa Rosa Police Department.

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Juan Vera Jr., 29, picked up Alex Colmar, 21, in his cab around 1 a.m. at a bar in the 700 block of Fourth Street, Sgt. Lisa Banayat said. During an altercation, Vera stabbed Colmar several times and took some of his property, Banayat said.

Colmar made his way home, which is located in the 2500 block of Vallejo Street. His father called police when he noticed his son was bleeding from cuts to his arms, Banayat said.

When police responded, Colmar punched an officer in the face and physically resisted the officers, Banayat said. Colmar was shot with a Taser and taken to a hospital for treatment, Banayat said.

At the hospital, police learned Colmar had also suffered stab wounds during the assault and he was admitted to the hospital with injuries that are not life threatening, Banayat said.

Police tracked down the cab and the driver and arrested Vera Thursday afternoon, Banayat said.

He was booked into the Sonoma County Jail under $40,000 bail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, robbery and drug possession. He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday afternoon in Sonoma County Superior Court.

Vera was sentenced in 1996 to the California Youth Authority for 16 years for the 1994 second-degree stabbing murder of 21-year-old Faiphet Phommavong at the Santa Rosa Plaza. He was 14 at the time of the murder.

He fled to Mexico after the stabbing but returned to Sonoma County in 1995. Vera claimed he was defending himself from Phommavong who he said assaulted him several months before the stabbing.

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