LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Jurors heard opening statements Friday in the beating death of a USC graduate student from China who was attacked near the campus two years ago.

Deputy District Attorney John McKinney told the Los Angeles Superior Court panel that Alejandra Guerrero, then 16, was in a
car with a group of young people who had decided to commit a robbery near the USC campus on July 24, 2014.

According to McKinney, Guerrero and two others exited their vehicle to attack Xinran Ji as the 24-year-old electrical engineering student walked home from a study session.

“They visited an act of violence on him that is so brutal that it is almost incomprehensible,” McKinney said, adding Ji was “literally beaten to death with a baseball bat and a wrench.”

Attorney Errol Cook told jurors he intends to show them Guerrero “is not guilty and not responsible for the murder of Xinran”, adding that the “evidence will show that this is tragic, that this is nothing short of horrific what happened to Xinran.”

Guerrero – who is being prosecuted as an adult – is charged with murder along with robbery, attempted robbery and assault with a deadly weapon for an alleged attack on a woman and a man at Dockweiler State Beach less than two hours later.

Her co-defendants — Jonathan Del Carmen, 21, Andrew Garcia, 20, and Alberto Ochoa, 19 — are awaiting trial separately in connection with Ji’s killing.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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