Sacramento Man Pleads Guilty to Stabbing Hometown Hero

Sacramento Man Pleads Guilty to Stabbing Hometown Hero

James Tran arrest photo

SACRAMENTO — The man who stabbed Sacramento hometown hero Spencer Stone in late 2015 entered to a plea in Sacramento County Court on Friday, March 10, 2017.

James Tran, 29, pleaded guilty and was charged with attempted murder following a brawl in Midtown Sacramento outside a nightclub on 21st and K Street at approximately 12:45 a.m. in October 2015. The assault left Stone with multiple life-threatening injuries that included stab wounds to his heart, liver, and lungs. Stone underwent open heart surgery to repair the damage.

A former Air Force Staff Sergeant, he says his injuries have healed with only scars remaining. Tran was arrested in Elk Grove nearly a month following the attack.

Tran’s court appearance on Friday was originally scheduled as a trial readiness conference ahead of the preliminary hearing slated for March 30. Tran made the plea, which includes a nine-year sentence, as part of a deal reached by prosecutors and defense attorneys.

Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Anthony Ortiz said the plea bargain called for a five-year sentence for the attempted murder charge.  Additional enhancements of causing great bodily injury and the use of a deadly weapon added both a three-year and one-year sentence.

Ortiz said it was also Tran’s prior involvement in the Hop Sing gang that allowed him to reach a plea deal. Tran will return on May 12 for a sentencing hearing in Sacramento Superior Court.

“There are bar fights that happen all the time. This ended in Mr. Stone being on the hospital bed, fighting for his life, because the defendant was a gang member.”

Said Stone, “It was important for me to be here for myself. I just wanted to see him face-to-face.” But the two never made eye contact. “At the end of the day I forgive the guy. We all make stupid decisions, some dumber than others. I hope he learns from it.”

In August 2015, Stone and his two childhood friends, Anthony Sadler and Alek Skarlatos, tackled and disarmed a gunman on a train while on vacation in France. They were awarded France’s Legion of Honor for their courage.

Sacramento Man Pleads Guilty to Stabbing Hometown Hero was last modified: March 24th, 2017 by admin
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Lisa Kopochinski

Lisa Kopochinski is a freelance writer and editor who has written articles on numerous topics from crime, social justice and environmental issues to construction, travel and business profiles. Her work has appeared in the Sacramento Business Journal, Comstock’s, and many trade publications in both the U.S. and Canada. She can be reached at