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Praying COVID-19 patient killed by hospital roommate, deputies say

Posted at 9:06 AM, Dec 24, 2020

LANCASTER, Calif. — A 37-year-old man who was being treated for COVID-19 is accused of killing his 82-year-old hospital roommate while the elderly man was praying.

Investigators with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Departmentsay theyounger man, identified as Jesse Martinez, is facing charges of murder with a hate crime enhancement and elder abuse.

Martinez and the 82-year-old victim were housed in a two-person room together at Antelope Valley Hospital on December 17 when the attack happened. Both were receiving treatment for COVID-19 symptoms.

“The suspect became upset when the victim started to pray. He then struck the victim with an oxygen tank,” reads a statement from the sheriff’s department.

The older man died from his injuries the next day. Investigators say the two men did not know each other.

Martinez is scheduled to appear in court at the end of the month.