Image: William McDougall
AP
William McDougall, 81, has been charged with the murder of his 94-year-old roommate at an Orange County rehabilitation center where the two were recovering from hip surgeries.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 10/5/2010 5:45:19 AM ET 2010-10-05T09:45:19

An 81-year-old man has been charged with the murder of his 94-year-old roommate at a Southern California rehabilitation center where the two were recovering from hip surgeries, authorities said.

Prosecutors said Monday that William McDougall became angry with 94-year-old Manh Van Nguyen, who was singing in their room in Vietnamese at the Palm Terrace Health Care Center in Laguna Woods.

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A nurse saw the attack and employees of the rehabilitation center restrained McDougall, prosecutors said according to the Orange County Register.

McDougall is accused of taking a metal rod from the closet and hitting Nguyen multiple times on the head. Nguyen died at a hospital of blunt-force trauma to the head, the Register said.

The Register also reported that workers at Palm Terrace Health Care Center said the two men had not had any trouble previously.

McDougall faces 25 years to life in state prison if convicted of the Oct. 1 attack. He is being held at Orange County Jail on a $1 million bail, the Register said.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Santa Ana.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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