LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A judge isn’t ready to move forward with the murder case against a West Hollywood man accused in a bloody knife attack that resulted in deputies fatally shooting an innocent victim.

Alexander McDonald, 28, entered the airport courthouse Tuesday morning, charged with murder for a shooting in which he didn’t pull the trigger.

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Deputies mistakenly shot and killed John Winkler on April 7 as he tried to run from McDonald during a knife attack inside a West Hollywood apartment.

The court says it’s not sure if the defendant should be tried for murder. The judge is now taking the case under advisement.

Winkler’s attorney spoke for the heartbroken family Tuesday.

“The blame lies with the Sheriff’s Department. The Sheriff’s Department is the one that shot him and killed him,” family attorney Sim Osborn said.

During the preliminary hearing in McDonald’s case, his roommate testified the suspect had entered his apartment through a patio door before pulling out a knife.

“Alex said if we move, he would kill Chris,” the roommate said.

Chris was a friend who was visiting the apartment with Winkler that day.

Sheriff’s deputies arrived just moments later after getting calls about McDonald running through the complex with a knife.

McDonald’s roommate testified the suspect stabbed his friend Chris before stabbing the roommate in the neck.

The roommate tried to run out of the apartment, but when he got through the door, deputies shot him.

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His friend Winkler ran behind him, and deputies shot and killed him.

“We are finding mistakes it looks like in training. Mistakes in execution,” Osborn said.

A Sheriff’s Department sergeant testified the mistake happened because the suspect’s description was similar to Winkler’s, saying in court: “Immediately after that, a man with a black shirt came out with what appeared to be a stabbing motion.”

The sergeant also said deputies were confused because Winkler ran toward them.

But McDonald’s roommate testified he told deputies after he was shot that the suspect was shirtless.

Another witness testified she showed deputies pictures of the suspect prior to the case of mistaken identity that cost Winkler his life.

The judge wants both sides in court next month to brief him on whether or not McDonald should stand trial for murder.


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