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Murder Charges Against Murrieta Rehab Center Dismissed

MURRIETA (AP) — A judge has dismissed a murder charge filed against a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center where a man died after seeking help to treat a drinking problem.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Elaine Kiefer ruled Friday there was insufficient evidence to support a second-degree murder charge against A Better Tomorrow and four of its employees in the 2010 death of patient Gary Benefield.

In her ruling, Kiefer wrote there was no evidence the treatment center acted with malice when employees gave Benefield drugs intended to ease his discomfort.

Benefield collapsed by his bed and died shortly after arriving at A Better Tomorrow in Murrieta. His body was found in the morning.

The facility's attorneys say the case was the first time a California corporation was accused of murder.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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