An elderly California man dealing with COVID-19 was bludgeoned to death by a roommate for praying.
An 82-year-old Latino man was being treated for coronavirus at the Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster in Southern California. The elderly man was sharing the hospital room with a 37-year-old man who was also diagnosed with COVID-19.
The older hospital patient "leaned on his Catholic faith and began to pray," according to The Washington Post. The BBC reported, "Jesse Martinez became upset when the 82-year-old man sharing his hospital room started praying, according to Los Angeles police."
Martinez allegedly used an oxygen tank to beat to death the elderly man in his hospital bed on Dec. 17, at approximately 9:45 a.m. The victim died the following day.
"He then struck the victim with an oxygen tank," according to the statement from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Homicide Bureau.
The two men did not know each other before being assigned to the same hospital room, and authorities did not know why Martinez murdered the man for praying.
Martinez was arrested and charged with murder, a hate crime enhancement, and elder abuse. His bail is set at $1 million. He is being held at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility. Martinez is scheduled to appear in Antelope Valley Court on Dec. 28.
The investigation is on-going.
Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris (R) was " shocked and saddened" to hear about the man's death, and said in a statement, "These families were already experiencing a hardship and now this — it's senseless."