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COVID-19 Patient Beat Elderly Hospital Roommate to Death for Praying: Police

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An 82-year-old man hospitalized for COVID-19 in California was beaten to death last week by a fellow patient angered by the elderly man’s praying in their shared hospital room, authorities said.

Jesse Martinez, 37, was arrested and charged with elder abuse and murder with a hate crime enhancement in connection to the Dec. 17 killing at Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.

Martinez and the victim did not know one another before they were hospitalized in the same room for issues related to the coronavirus. When his roommate started to pray, Martinez allegedly became upset and struck him with an oxygen tank.

The elderly man, who has not been publicly identified, died the following morning from his injuries, authorities said.

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