LANCASTER – A 37-year-old man was charged with killing an elderly patient last week at Antelope Valley Hospital, where both men were being treated for COVID-19, authorities said.
Jesse Martinez has been charged with murder, a hate crime enhancement, and elder abuse, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which reported that Martinez is scheduled to appear in Antelope Valley Court on Monday, Dec. 28.
The crime occurred around 9:45 a.m. on Dec. 17 at AV Hospital, where both men were being treated for COVID-19, the sheriff’s department reported.
“(The victim) was housed in a two-person room inside the hospital with the suspect, who was also there receiving treatment,” a sheriff’s department statement said. “The suspect became upset when the victim started to pray. He then struck the victim with an oxygen tank.”
The 82-year-old victim died the following day, sheriff’s officials said. His name has not yet been released pending next of kin notification.
Martinez was arrested on Dec. 17 and booked on suspicion of murder on Dec. 18, with bail set at $1 million, according to LASD inmate records.
The victim and suspect did not know one another, the sheriff’s department reported. The investigation is ongoing and no further information was immediately available.
Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.