A man accused of attacking his 73-year-old roommate at a Long Beach hospital pleaded not guilty Thursday, Feb. 13 to a murder charge.
Reginald Daniel Panthier, 37, had originally been charged with assault for allegedly attacking Francisco Sanchez-Reyes of Long Beach on Jan. 31. The victim died Feb. 8, prompting prosecutors on Monday to charge Panthier with murder, elder abuse resulting in death, elder abuse with infliction of injury and assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury.
Panthier, described as a transient, is due back in court March 19, when a date will be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for him to stand trial.
He remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail, and faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted as charged, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
There has been no word on a possible motive for the attack, which occurred around midday Jan. 31 at College Medical Center in Long Beach. The victim, Sanchez-Reyes, had eight children, 24 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
One of his sons, Ramon Sanchez, wrote on a GoFundMe page that his father had gone into the hospital for treatment of a urinary tract infection, and had only been in the hospital for about seven hours when he was attacked.
Sanchez wrote that his father had been beaten so severely that “when the nurse (went) into check on him the nurse found him (on) the floor bleeding to death. When she asked what happened the attacker confessed that he gave my dad a beating. … The detectives (who) are working this case are the ones that told us this. We still don’t know, to this day, what was the reason for this individual to beat up my father.”
Ramon Sanchez wrote that his father “came here from Mexico to give us more opportunity and a better life.”
In a statement to the Long Beach Post, College Medical Center officials said their “deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of the deceased.”
“This was a tragic and unforeseeable incident, and College Medical Center 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.”