Video: James Tran arraigned in stabbing of Spencer Stone
French train hero Spencer Stone’s alleged attacker made his first appearance in Sacramento Superior Court on Friday, accused of attempted murder in a violent altercation near a midtown Sacramento nightclub.
James Tran, 28, of Sacramento was arraigned at a brief afternoon hearing before Sacramento Superior Court Judge Ben Davidian. Tran faces a single count of attempted murder with an allegation of using a dangerous weapon, a knife. He did not enter a plea and is scheduled to return to court Dec. 1.
Tran, arrested Wednesday, is ineligible for bail because of the seriousness of his alleged crime, jail records show. His private defense attorney, Donald Masuda, asked at Friday’s hearing that the terms of bail be discussed at his next court date.
Tran’s arrest came after an intense monthlong manhunt. Viewers worldwide had watched the surveillance camera footage that captured Stone fighting off a group of men at 21st and K streets, followed by images of the same men piling into a late-model Toyota Camry.
The fight came after a heated exchange that Sacramento police say was triggered when a person in Tran’s group videotaped a woman in Stone’s party. Stone was stabbed four times in the brawl and nearly died in the attack.
A photo of Stone recovering in a UC Davis Medical Center hospital bed starkly showed the severity of his wounds. A line of surgical staples extended down his torso from chest to navel. Stone suffered a punctured heart, liver and lung in the stabbing and later had open-heart surgery.
Tran was arrested Wednesday morning during a traffic stop in the area of Highway 99 and Bond Road in Elk Grove, said Sacramento Police Chief Samuel Somers Jr. at a news conference Wednesday announcing the arrest. Authorities later searched a Dersingham Road home in unincorporated south Sacramento County.
Tran pleaded no contest in 2008 to possession of a controlled substance for sale. Prosecutors asked the court to dismiss six other felony drug and weapons charges against him, including possession of a concealed weapon and possession of a loaded firearm. He was sentenced to a year on work furlough and five years' probation.
The attack on Stone came just months after the airman and two childhood friends, Sacramento State student Anthony Sadler and Oregon National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, were hailed as heroes for thwarting a terrorist attack aboard a French passenger train in August.
Stone was stabbed and seriously wounded while subduing the gunman.
Stone, Sadler and Skarlatos received France’s highest award, the Legion of Honor, for bravery in the face of the attack. They had an audience with President Barack Obama at the White House in September and were feted at home in Sacramento with a downtown parade.
Stone was promoted from airman first class to staff sergeant for his actions that August day.