William Leo McDougall, 81-Year-Old Accused of Murdering 94-Year-Old Rehab Roommate, Due in Court Today

William Leo McDougall, the 81-year-old Laguna Woods man accused of becoming angry over his rehabilitation center roommate's singing and killing the 94-year-old with a metal closet rod, is due to be arraigned in Orange County Superior Court this morning after the county Grand Jury indicted McDougall last week for murder with a penalty enhancement for use of a weapon during the commission of a crime.

McDougall could get 26 years to life in prison if convicted although, based on the photo at right and disclosure that he is in poor health, he likely wouldn't make it that long.

He has been held in lieu of $1 million bail since the Oct. 1 incident. He pleaded innocent to murder at a court hearing later that month.

McDougall and Manh Van Nguyen were recovering from hip replacements at Palm Terrace Healthcare Center in Laguna Woods, where there never before had been an issue between the two men.

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However, authorities claim Nguyen's singing in Vietnamese set off McDougall, who allegedly took a metal rod from the closet in their room and hit Nguyen in the head with it several times.

Prosecutors say a nurse witnessed the attack, which led to Nguyen being rushed to a local hospital where he died of blunt-force trauma.

In his previous 81 years, McDougall had no criminal record.

The Orange County District Attorney's Office statement on the arraignment follows:

November 22, 2010


SANTA ANA - An 81-year-old man will be arraigned on a grand jury indictment for murdering his 94-year-old roommate by repeatedly hitting him in the head with a metal rod while the two were living in a rehabilitation center recovering from hip surgeries. William Leo McDougall, 81, Laguna Woods, was indicted by the Grand Jury on Nov. 15, 2010, on one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon. He faces a maximum sentence of 26 years to life in state prison if convicted. The People will be requesting the defendant be held on $1 million bail at his arraignment tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2010, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

The Orange County District Attorney's Office released a press release Oct. 4, 2010, with the following information:

On Oct. 1, 2010, McDougall was recovering from a hip surgery at Palm Terrace Healthcare Center in Laguna Woods. The defendant is accused of becoming angry with his 94-year-old roommate, Manh Van Nguyen, who was singing in their room in Vietnamese while also recovering from a hip surgery.

McDougall is accused of taking a metal rod from the closet in their room and hitting Nguyen multiple times in the head. A nurse, who had been approaching the room, witnessed the incident. The defendant was restrained by staff.

The victim was taken to the hospital, where he died due to blunt force trauma to the head.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

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