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4 charged with murder in beating death of USC student

4 charged with murder in beating death of USC student
Los Angeles Police Lt Andrew Neiman speaks during a news conference at the scene where a USC graduate student from China was discovered dead in his off-campus apartment, Thursday, July 24, 2014, in Los Angeles. Police are looking for at least three suspects. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Times, Lawrence K. Ho)
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Four teens were charged Tuesday with murder in the fatal 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, ages 16 and 17, were 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 on 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 — were expected to be arraigned on one count of murder with a special circumstance of murder in the course of an attempted robbery, according to the district attorney's office.

Garcia, Ochoa and Guerrero also face a special allegation that they personally used a dangerous weapon — the bat and wrench.

The same three defendants were also charged with one count each of second-degree robbery, attempted second-degree robbery and assault with a deadly weapon in another incident the same morning. Ocho and Guerrero were also armed with a knife in that incident, according to the charging documents.

Police believe the attackers drove to Dockweiler Beach after their encounter with the USC student and tried to rob a man and woman. The man managed to escape and notify police.

The charges in the killing of the student carry a potential death sentence for Garcia and Del Carmen. However, Ochoa and Guerrero could face a maximum penalty of life in prison without possibility of parole, if convicted, because of their ages. Prosecutors say they'll ask for all four to be held without bail.

In 2012, two USC students from China were fatally shot during an off-campus robbery that also took place during the early morning hours.
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California authorities catch 4 of 5 jail escapees