Man Pleads Not Guilty to Murder in Mistaken-Identity Death of Aspiring Producer in West Hollywood

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A West Hollywood man was charged Monday in connection with the death of an aspiring TV producer who was mistakenly shot by deputies and the stabbing of two other victims.

Alexander McDonald pleaded not guilty to one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of torture in the April 7 crime, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

McDonald was accused of holding three men at knifepoint inside a West Hollywood apartment on Palm Avenue.


John Winkler, who died after being shot by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies on April 7, 2014, appears in a photo posted on Facebook.

Deputies responding to a “assault with a deadly weapon, man with a knife” call saw one man running out of the out of the apartment holding his neck as blood was spurting out, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The bleeding man was being followed by producer John Winkler and both ran directly at the deputies, according to sheriff’s department.

“Believing Winkler was the assailant and the assault was ongoing and he would attack the entry team; three deputies fired their duty weapons at him,” the release stated.

Both men were hit by gunfire.

Winkler was killed and the second man was wounded.

Inside the apartment, deputies found McDonald allegedly choking a third man on the floor of the living room. A large knife was nearby, the release stated.

Deputies used “physical force” to take McDonald into custody.

McDonald was allegedly holding Winkler and the other two men captive at knifepoint, according to the release, then went into a rage and began stabbing them when deputies arrived.

He was being held on $4,120,000 bail.

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