A 19-year-old man and two teens were ordered to stand trial Thursday in the beating death of a University of Southern California graduate student from China.
Xinran Ji, 24, was attacked with a baseball bat near the campus south of downtown Los Angeles in July as he walked back to his apartment from a meeting with a study group. He struggled to the apartment building, where his roommate found his bloodied body in a bedroom the following morning.
Charged with his murder are 19-year-old Jonathan del Carmen, Alberto Ochoa, 17, and Alejandra Guerrero, 16. Proceedings against a fourth defendant have been delayed for mental competency evaluations.
The three were ordered to stand trial after a preliminary hearing this week at which surveillance video of the attack was presented. Security camera video also was shown of Ji returning to his apartment after the beating.
Hours after Ji was beaten, the defendants were arrested when they allegedly robbed a young couple at Dockweiler Beach. The vehicle in which the defendants were traveling at the time of the arrest had a license plate identification that matched one captured by license plate reader technology in the area where Ji was attacked.
The plate reader and security cameras were installed after two other USC grad students from China were shot and killed near the campus about two years ago. Ying We and Ming Qu were seated in a car about one mile from campus when they were gunned down.
Two men convicted in the slayings were sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.
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The next court proceeding in the Ji case is scheduled for Jan. 29.