LANCASTER — A 37-year-old man is in custody today after he allegedly beat his 82-year-old hospital roommate to death with an oxygen tank when the elderly man began to pray.
The incident occurred about 9:45 a.m. Dec. 17. The victim was at Antelope Valley Hospital receiving treatment for COVID. He was housed in a two-person room with the suspect, who was also there receiving treatment.
“The suspect became enraged when the victim started to pray,” the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a release. “He struck the victim with an oxygen tank.”
The victim, an Hispanic male, died the following day from his injuries. His identification was withheld pending notification of his relatives.
The victim and suspect did know one another, the sheriff’s department reported.
Suspect Jesse Martinez was arrested and charged with murder, a hate crime enhancement and elder abuse. His bail was set at $1 million. He is set to appear Monday in an Antelope Valley court, the sheriff’s department said.
AV Hospital administrators declined to comment because it is an active criminal investigation.
No further details are available.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at 323- 890-5500.
Those who prefer to provide information anonymously may call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477, use a smart phone and download the P3 Tips mobile app or by visiting http://lacrimestoppers.org