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LA patient charged with murder in beating death of 73-year-old hospital roommate

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A 37-year-old man has been charged with murder after authorities said he beat a 73-year-old patient he shared a hospital room with so severely that the older man later died from his injuries.

Reginald Daniel Panthier was charged Thursday with one felony count each of murder, elder abuse resulting in death, elder abuse with infliction of injury and assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors say Panthier, a Long Beach-area transient, assaulted Francisco Sanchez-Reyes of Long Beach at College Medical Center on Jan. 31. Sanchez-Reyes suffered major injuries to his upper torso and died nine days later, Long Beach police said.

Panthier was arrested the day of the attack. He remains in custody with bail set at $1.075 million, jail records show.

If convicted, he faces a maximum of 50 years to life in prison, prosecutors said.

Earlier this week, College Medical Center characterized the attack as "a tragic and unforeseeable incident" and said the hospital "is fully cooperating with law enforcement in regards to the criminal investigation and prosecution of the assailant for this random act of violence."

"The safety and well-being of our patients, along [with] the provision of superior care, remain our highest priority," the hospital said in a statement Tuesday. "College Medical Center's deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of the deceased."

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