OAKLAND - A Berkeley man was arraigned today on a premeditated attempted murder charge for allegedly randomly stabbing a woman on an AC Transit bus in Berkeley on Monday night.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Trina Thompson referred 24-year-old Eric Palmer to the Public Defender's Office to be assigned a lawyer and ordered him to return to court on Friday morning to finalize his legal representation and possibly enter a plea.
Palmer, who was dressed in a yellow jail uniform, asked Thompson if he could "speak for myself" but the judge said it would be better if he were represented by a lawyer.
Berkeley police spokeswoman Jennifer Coates said Palmer was riding on a bus on San Pablo Avenue near Chaucer Street shortly before 9:50 p.m. on Monday when "for no apparent reason" he walked down the aisle, pulled out a knife, said "watch this" and suddenly stabbed a 21-year-old woman who was seated nearby.
Police said a 25-year-old man who witnessed the attack immediately took action by striking Palmer continuously with his skateboard, distracting Palmer from his attack.
However, police said Palmer was "so determined" to keep attacking the woman that he continued his alleged assault even after the Good Samaritan intervened.
Palmer eventually fled from the bus when it pulled over on San Pablo Avenue near Chaucer Street but he was soon detained by an officer who was flagged down by bus passengers, according to police.
The woman suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to a local hospital to be treated, police said.
There was no apparent motive for the attack and the investigation into the incident is continuing, police said.
In addition to the premeditated attempted murder charge for his alleged attack on the woman, Palmer is charged with assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly attacking the skateboarder who came to her defense.
Palmer, who is being held in custody without bail, also is charged with having a prior conviction for second-degree commercial burglary in Solano County in April 2010. His prior conviction could increase his state prison sentence if he's convicted.
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