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EL CAJON, Calif. (CNS) – A man who fatally beat a fellow East County independent living facility resident with a frying pan was sentenced Wednesday to 16 years to life in state prison.

Brad Masaru Payton, 27, pleaded guilty last year to second-degree murder and a deadly weapon allegation in connection with the Dec. 20, 2018, killing of Matthew McCarthy, 39.

Police said the killing stemmed from an unspecified argument that took place at around 5 a.m. at a transitional group home in the 1200 block of Naranca Avenue in El Cajon.

Patrol officers arrived to find the badly beaten victim in a bedroom at the residence. Medics took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

According to police, the victim and the defendant knew each other and lived in separate rooms. Witnesses said the two were arguing for unknown reasons just before Payton attacked McCarthy.

McCarthy’s sister, Shannon Beasley, read a statement to the court at Payton’s sentencing hearing, in which she said her family “has been turned upside-down” by her brother’s death, coupled with the death of their mother from cancer shortly after her son was killed.

She chided Payton for not being able to “just walk away” from the dispute with her brother.

Though the 16-year-to-life sentence was previously agreed upon between the prosecution and defense, Payton’s attorney, Veda Tavakkoly, stated to the court that the defendant is “severely schizophrenic” and was living at the home where the killing occurred due to his diagnosis.

Payton did not make a statement to the court, but Tavakkoly said, “I know that he is very sorry for what happened.”