A gunfight between two men left 19-year-old bystander Madalyn Sandoval dead in November 2020. It can’t be determined which man fired the fatal shot, so a judge has decided they should both stand trial for murder.

A November 6, 2020 shooting incident in an East Oakland parking lot left 19-year-old bystander Madalyn Sandoval dead. A month later, two men were arrested and charged, in what was apparently a shootout between the two of them, and the victim Sandoval apparently had little if any involvement in the dispute between the alleged two gunmen, 26-year-old Willie Samuels and 40-year-old Fernando Sevilla.

At the time, the Bay Area News Group reported that “both of the accused men told investigators that the other guy shot first. Police records say the shooting was captured on video and that both parties ‘exchanged gunfire’ after the driver of one car pointed a gun at the other driver.”

The case is now in the courts, and the Alameda County DA’s Office is arguing that both men should be tried for murder. “Whether or not Samuels shot first, Sevilla shot first, we may never actually know,” deputy district attorney Alexis Cause told Judge Mark McCannon. “The important part and the important issue is that both men were armed, both men shot, both men shot multiple times, and their actions caused the death of Ms. Sandoval.”

These are only preliminary hearings, but the judge agreed. The Bay Area News Group reports Judge McCannon ruled that both men should be tried for murder.

Not surprisingly, both suspects’ attorneys argue that the other guy was definitely the fatal shooter, and both suspects have pleaded not guilty. Both attorneys made statements in court that basically took it as an article of faith that the other suspect shot Sandoval, with plenty of other confusion thrown into the mix too.

For example, Sevilla’s attorney Martin Caraves argued that Sandoval may not have even been shot in the gunfight. “We don’t know if Mr. Samuels shot her in the car, or after the shooting incident in the alleyway and prior to dropping her off at the hospital, whether there was an argument between Mr. Samuels and Ms. Sandoval and then he shot her somewhere in the street three, four, five feet away,” he said in court, per the News Group.

Both mens’ trial dates are not yet known, and they will be tried separately. The judge ruled in favor of the murder trial using a probable cause standard, which is less rigorous than what a jury would need to convict either of murder.

Related: Oakland Man Shot and Killed — While Celebrating His Birthday — In Uptown Neighborhood [SFist]

Image: joebeone via Wikimedia Commons