Burn victim's dad wants accused teen tried as juvenile


Fleischman's family did not attend court Monday, but Sasha's father says they are very excited to have Sasha coming home from the hospital in time for thanksgiving.

The attorney for 16-year-old Richard Thomas says his young client has no business standing trial in adult court, despite the severity of the charges against him.

"The real question with minors, is the minor and how mature they are and how much they were influenced by other minors for example," William DuBois said.

A junior at Oakland High School, Thomas is charged as an adult with felony assault and mayhem with hate crime enhancements. He's accused of lighting the skirt of an AC Transit bus rider on fire, a crime that left 18-year-old Sasha Fleischman with second and third degree burns on the lower body.

Sasha's father Karl Fleischman told ABC7 News today, "Sasha's recovery is going very well. Sasha expects to be home before Thanksgiving. What Sasha's most looking forward to is getting back to school and being with friends."

Thomas' attorney says his client's actions were a prank and that he never intended to harm Sasha.

"He thought there'd be a little puff of smoke and everybody would laugh and it would be over," DuBois said. "He was horrified to see flames shooting up the way they did."

The district attorney disagrees, citing a police interview where Thomas said he lit Sasha's skirt on fire because he, Thomas, is homophobic.

Sasha parents say the teen does not identify as either male or female.

Copyright © 2024 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.