Crime - Sacto 911

March preliminary hearing set in Spencer Stone stabbing case

James Tran appears in Sacramento Superior Court on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, in Sacramento, Calif.
James Tran appears in Sacramento Superior Court on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, in Sacramento, Calif. rpench@sacbee.com

James Tran will face a March 30 preliminary hearing in the stabbing of France train hero and Air Force Staff Sgt. Spencer Stone last October as prosecutors plan to present new charges alleging Tran had gang ties at the time of the late-night attack.

Tran made a brief appearance Friday before Sacramento Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Goodman from behind a courtroom cell with defense attorney Donald Masuda at his side to set the date. Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Anthony Ortiz told Goodman he plans to file an amended criminal complaint alleging a gang enhancement against Tran ahead of the preliminary hearing. The March hearing will determine whether prosecutors have enough evidence to proceed to trial.

Tran, 28, who faces an attempted murder charge in connection with Stone’s stabbing Oct. 8, 2015, during a violent altercation outside a midtown nightclub, remains in Sacramento County custody. Stone was stabbed four times during the melee captured on nearby surveillance cameras as he attempted to fight off four men near 21st and K streets. Stone nearly died in the attack, the knife puncturing his heart, liver and a lung in the stabbing. He later underwent open-heart surgery.

Tran eluded authorities for nearly a month after the altercation before his November arrest on a freeway offramp near Elk Grove.

Stone, with childhood friends Sacramento State student Anthony Sadler and Alex Skarlatos, a specialist in the Oregon National Guard, stopped a terrorist attack aboard a French passenger train while on vacation in August. Stone was seriously wounded when the three subdued a man armed with an AK-47 on the train. The three were hailed as heroes in France and in the United States, and received the Legion of Honor, France’s highest award.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith

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