Trial set in Atwater machete homicide case

Questionnaires have been sent out to potential jurors in the case against an Atwater man accused of killing another man last year with a machete.

The trial of Antonio Cruz Guzman is scheduled to begin Tuesday before Judge Marc A. Garcia in Merced Superior Court, according to court records.

Guzman, 31, has pleaded not guilty in connection with the death of Joseph McDonald on April 28, 2013.

McDonald, 61, was stabbed numerous times in his neck and arms at a home in the 1500 block of Valencia Way in Atwater. He died a short time later at Mercy Medical Center Merced, investigators have said.

Authorities have not released a motive for the killing.

Guzman’s family has denied he played any role in McDonald’s death.

Atwater police seized a machete they believe was tossed by the attacker as he fled the scene. Witnesses told police a man left the scene in a burgundy 1993 Chevrolet pickup.

Investigators tracked the report to Guzman’s home in the 5200 block of Crest Way. Officers said Guzman refused to cooperate with police during the search and was subdued with a Taser. Detectives said they found blood on the steering wheel of Guzman’s truck.

He remains in custody at the Merced County jail without bail.