A judge ruled on Monday that Alameda County prosecutors produced sufficient evidence to have an Oregon man ordered to stand trial on a murder charge for the fatal stabbing of a 59-year-old man outside the Greyhound bus station in Oakland in December.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge C. Don Clay said evidence in the preliminary hearing of Anthony Morales, 36, of Albany, Ore., shows that Morales was the aggressor in a fight near the station at 2103 San Pablo Ave. shortly before 9 p.m. on Dec. 19 in which Eric McMillian was fatally stabbed. Morales’ attorney Hien Ngoc Nguyen argued that Morales should only be ordered to stand trial on the lesser charge of manslaughter, saying “the required element of malice (for a murder finding) is lacking.” Nguyen said the confrontation between Morales and McMillian lasted for less than a minute, meaning that Morales didn’t have time to deliberate, and said Morales was upset because he thought that McMillian had stolen his backpack.
But Clay said the cause of the dispute between the two men isn’t totally clear because McMillian told police shortly before he died that Morales had tried to rob him before he stabbed him.
Clay said, “We don’t know the context” for the dispute.
Clay said that if Morales had really believed that he was a robbery victim he could have waited at the scene to tell police his side of the story but instead he got on a bus, where he was arrested a short time after the fight.
The judge also noted that Morales used a large butcher knife to stab McMillian twice in his torso.
McMillian died at Highland Hospital at 9:54 p.m. on Dec. 19, about an hour after he was stabbed.
Alameda County prosecutors allege that Morales has two prior felony convictions in Santa Cruz County for second-degree burglary on Feb. 24, 2011, and carrying a concealed firearm on Aug. 17, 2001. Morales is scheduled to return to court on Feb. 19 to have his trial date set.