In the morning hours of Dec. 17, 2020, Jesse Martinez viciously bludgeoned his roommate with an oxygen tank inside the Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, California. The roommate, David Hernandez-Garcia, age 82, succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at 10:20 a.m. on Dec. 18.
The Los Angeles County district attorney charged Martinez with one count of murder and one count of elder abuse resulting in death. A hate crime allegation against Martinez is also pending. He is currently being held in custody at Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles, with bail set at $1 million.
Some speculate the hospital killing was the result of diabolical manifestation. Church Militant sought comments on this story from a number of priests. One (who wanted to remain anonymous because of his sensitive ministry) noted the above incident reminded him of a similar tragic occurrence he had witnessed many years ago. The incident occurred at a health care facility in which he was working at the time.
The priest reports that a young staffer, a 22-year-old, fresh-out-of-college female, who identified herself as a "born-again Christian," was thrown through a large plate glass window. The aggressor was a 13-year-old boy with autism; he committed the aggression against the staffer because she attempted to pray with him.
Blessedly, the priest recalls, there was a large fire station across the street from this health care facility. It was staffed with more than a dozen firemen, who responded immediately to the young woman's calls for help. When they arrived on scene, the firemen found the staffer being pummeled by the 13-year-old boy.
After a protracted struggle on the lawn, the firemen were able to restrain the boy, but they did so only with great difficulty. In the incident's aftermath, many of these veteran firemen stated they had never seen anything like it ever before; they claimed that "the boy was possessed!"
Paradoxically and miraculously, the priest recalled that neither the woman nor the boy (who both went through the shattered plate glass window), suffered any serious cuts or bruises. Moreover, the young woman, despite what she suffered, ended up "offering up" the beating she had endured and continued to work at the facility — to the great surprise of her coworkers.
Perhaps the most tragic thing about this incident, from the priest's point of view, was his signing off on the permanent psychiatric institutionalization of this young man at a locked, state-run facility.
The priest stated that, to this day, he continues to pray for this boy (now a man) who reacted so violently to the simple, straightforward prayers of a young, fervent born-again Christian. Father reports that he visited the boy a couple of times after he had been permanently institutionalized, but that the boy did not recall anything at all about what he did to necessitate his transfer and lock-up.
Church Militant reached out to Jesse Romero, who has written and talked extensively on the Devil and on how to successfully wage spiritual warfare. On the case of Martinez beating his roommate to death with an oxygen tank, Romero commented:
I have no doubt that the prayers of the man who got killed triggered a demon attached to Jesse Martinez. Prayers wound demons, and, in a fury of rage to stop their torment, they often incite the individual they possess to lash out at those offering up prayers, to stop their torment.
The late Fr. Gabriel Amorth, former chief exorcist of the Vatican and prolific author, often reflected on the power Mary has over the Devil.
Amorth once wrote, "One day a colleague of mine heard the Devil say during an exorcism, 'Every Hail Mary is like a blow on my head. If Christians knew how powerful the Rosary was, it would be my end.'"
Taking Fr. Amorth's reflections to heart, the faithful disciple in these current tribulations should keep a Hail Mary on his lips and a scapular over his heart. And always keep in mind Our Lord's promise of life eternal to the faithful who remain close to Him, despite trial, tribulation or death.
And perhaps just as important, we must also remain wary of those within earshot, lest our prayers or pious mannerisms (like making the Sign of the Cross) arouse the ire of the evil one taking up residence in those nearby.