LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office Tuesday charged three males and a female, all under 20 years old, with capital murder in the beating death of a USC graduate student.
Jonathan Del Carmen, 19, Andrew Garcia, 18, Alberto Ochoa, 17, and 16-year-old Alejandra Guerrero were arraigned at 1:30 p.m.
Prosecutors asked the judge to hold them without bail.
The four suspects are accused of killing Xinran Ji, a 24-year-old electrical engineering student from China.
He was found dead Thursday morning is his fourth floor unit at the City Park apartments, located in the 200 block of West 30th Street.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, Ji was walking home around 12:45 a.m. from a study group when he was attacked by the group who tried to rob him.
Ji was beaten and struck in the head with a bat near the corner of 29th Street and Orchard Avenue.
He managed to make his way back to his apartment where he was later found dead by his roommate.
Following the USC attack, the group is said to have driven to Dockweiler Beach, where they allegedly robbed a woman.
Garcia, Ochoa and Guerrero also are charged with one count each of second-degree robbery, attempted second-degree robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, a bat, involving the second incident.
“He does not belong there, that’s the worst part of it,” Garcia’s sister Rosemary said. “He’s just a baby.”
Garcia’s family claims that he was tricked by his fellow defendants, who allegedly woke him out of bed, saying they were going to the beach.
“We love him, and we are praying for him, because this is not something that he would do,” Garcia’s mother Rosalie said.
Del Carmen was reportedly not involved in the alleged robbery.
Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty against Garcia and Del Carmen.
Because of their ages, Ochoa and Guerrero are not eligible for the death penalty. If convicted, they each face life in prison without the possibility of parole, officials said.
Ji’s parents, meanwhile, have been unable to come to Los Angeles, due to difficulties with obtaining a Visa. They were nonetheless able to release a statement through a family friend.
“The only thing on our mind is our only son. We want to see him. We will be extremely (grateful) to the U.S. if they can help us to get a Visa.”
The suspects are expected back in court on August 12.