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Gary Hoffmann

4 teens charged with murder in USC student's death

 
Posted July 30th, 2014 @ 7:01am

Photo Credit: Eric Leonard

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Four teens were charged Tuesday with murder in the beating of a University of Southern California graduate student with a baseball bat and wrench as he walked to his off-campus apartment after meeting with a study group.

Two of the suspects were juveniles charged as adults in the slaying of Xinran Ji, 24, an engineering student from China who was attacked early Thursday. He was able to make his way to his apartment despite being hit in the head with the bat. A roommate discovered him dead hours later.

The defendants — 17-year-old Alberto Ochoa, 16-year-old Alejandra Guerrero, 18-year-old Andrew Garcia and 19-year-old Jonathan Del Carmen — will be arraigned Aug. 12 on one count each of murder with a special circumstance of murder during an attempted robbery.

Garcia, Ochoa and Guerrero also face a special allegation for personally using a dangerous weapon — the bat and wrench.

In 2012, two USC students from China were fatally shot during an off-campus robbery also during the early morning.

"For any family this is a horrible tragedy, but it's magnified by the fact that these Chinese families have sent their children so far away expecting that this was the best possible thing ... and now he's gone," Clayton Dube, executive director of the USC U.S.-China Institute, said about Ji.

Dube, who informed Ji's mother of her only child's death, said the university and the U.S. and Chinese governments were working to get Ji's parents to Los Angeles from Hohhot, the capital city of Inner Mongolia in northern China.

Ji's parents, Ji Songbo and Du Jinhui, said in a statement Tuesday that they are struggling to get visas.

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