USC student murder suspects appear in court

A preliminary hearing was held on Tuesday at the Los Angeles Superior Court for three suspects accused of slaying Xinran Ji, an engineering graduate student who was killed near the University Park campus in July.  The evidentiary hearing allowed Deputy District Attorney John McKinney to present evidence to the jury.

For the case to go to trial, McKinney has to demonstrate by standard of reasonable likelihood that the crime was committed by the teenage defendants. Jonathan Del Carmen, 19; Alberto Ochoa, 17; and Alejandra Guerrero, 16, are suspected of robbing and beating late Ji on his way home over the summer.

McKinney presented footage from security cameras that show a group of people attacking the late student.  A video captured by a camera at the entrance of Ji’s apartment building depicts him walking, covered in blood.

Ochoa and Guerrero may face up to life in prison without the possibility of parole.  Del Carmen and Garcia may face the death penalty.

The preliminary hearing reconvenes on Wednesday.