Two Adults And Two Teens Charged With USC Student's Murder
Police announced this afternoon that five suspects have been identified in connection to the murder of USC graduate student Xinran Ji, and that four of those arrested have been charged. Ji, 24, was found dead in his off-campus apartment by his roommate on the morning of July 25 at 7 a.m. LAPD have determined that he was severely beaten in what Cmdr. Bill Scott of South Bureau "senseless acts of violence" by four or five individuals on a crime spree.
LAPD Cmd. Andrew Smith said that the suspects were initially arrested for a second robbery involving two victims in Dockweiler Beach several hours after the assault on Ji, which is believed to have occurred near 12:45 a.m. as Ji was coming home from a study group.
Police believe Ji was beaten with a blunt object in a robbery attempt and succumbed to his injuries in his home. It is not clear why Ji did not or was unable to seek help upon returning to his apartment.
The two adult suspects were identified as Jonathan Del Carmen, 19, and Andrew Garcia, 18. Del Carmen is being charged with murder with special circumstances and Garcia is being charged with murder with special circumstances, assault with a deadly weapon and robbery. A 17-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl are also being charged, but their names have not been released. A 14-year-old girl is being detained, but she has yet to be charged in the Ji case.
Smith said they are also working to determine if any more crimes were committed in between Ji's attack and the robbery in Dockweiler Beach. The police do not believe the attack was racially motivated, nor do they think it was gang-related.
Ji was an honors student who had attended Zhejiang University in China. He came to California in 2013 to pursue a Masters in Electrical Engineering at USC.
Update, July 29, 1 p.m.: The L.A. County District Attorney has released the names of all four suspects, who will be arraigned today at 1:30 p.m. Jonathan Del Carmen, 19; Andrew Garcia, 18; Alberto Ochoa, 17; and Alejandra Guerrero, 16, are all being charged with one count of murder with a special circumstance. The special circumstance means that the murder was committed during a robbery attempt. Ochoa, Garcia and Guerrero are each being accused of using a bat as a deadly weapon. They are also being charged with second-degree robbery, attempted second-degree robbery and assault with a deadly weapon (the bat) in the second crime in Dockweiler Beach. Prosecutors may seek the death penalty for the two adults, but those under 18 could only be sentenced, if convicted, to life in prison at maximum.