LANCASTER, Calif. — A California man has been charged with murder after beating his hospital roommate to death last month in becoming upset that the elderly Roman Catholic man was praying.
According to reports, Jesse Martinez, 37, was admitted to Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster after contracting the novel coronavirus and shared a room in the COVID ward with David Hernandez-Garcia, 82.
However, when Hernandez-Garcia began to pray on the morning of Dec. 17, Martinez allegedly became upset and struck the man several times with an oxygen tank.
The elderly man succumbed to his injuries, dying the next day.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Martinez was taken into custody at the hospital and has now been charged with murder and elder abuse. He is also facing a sentencing enhancement for committing a hate crime based on religion.
He is currently being held at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility with bail set at $1 million dollars.
Martinez could receive a maximum sentence of 28 years to life in prison.
Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris remarked in a statement that he is “shocked and saddened” by the “senseless” violence.
“These families were already experiencing a hardship and now this — it’s senseless,” he stated.
The Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department continues to investigate. City officials state that the hospital could not have done much to have saved Hernandez-Garcia from the blows as the hospital is “drastically understaffed and medical staff is suffering from exhaustion.” COVID measures also limited the availability of security officers and others to simply rush into the room.
In John 3:19, Jesus outlined that “men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.”
“For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved,” he stated. “But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”
Jesus also warned His disciples that just as He was despised and hated by men, those who follow in His footsteps will also be rejected by the world.
“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own. But because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you,” He said in John 15:19.
“These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended,” John 16:1-3 reads. “They shall put you out of the synagogues; yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor Me.”
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this report characterized Hernandez-Garcia as “recovering” from COVID when Martinez shared the room. They were rather both being treated for the infection.