Convicted killer of grad student sentenced to life without parole

Xinran Ji, 24, came to USC from China to receive his master’s degree in electrical engineering. Photo courtesy of USC News

Andrew Garcia was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. He was convicted in June of first-degree murder for the beating death of graduate student Xinran Ji.

Garcia was one of the four people arrested for Ji’s murder in 2014. Jurors found him guilty for his use of a baseball bat to beat Ji.

Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty because Garcia was a minor when the crime was committed. Garcia’s co-defendant Alejandra Guerrero was convicted of first-degree murder last October for her role in Ji’s death and is awaiting sentencing.

The two other men charged in Ji’s death, Jonathan Del Carmen and Alberto Ochoa, are still awaiting trial.

Ji was attacked on July 24, 2014 while on his way to his off-campus apartment near 29th Street and Orchard Street.

Video evidence presented at the trial shows Garcia, Guerrero, del Carmen and Ochoa pulling up in a car and approaching Ji.

During the conviction, Deputy District Attorney John McKinney said that the four co-defendants confronted Ji in an attempted robbery and struck him multiple times with an aluminum baseball bat and a wrench. Once Ji ran away, McKinney said Garcia took the baseball bat, caught up to Ji and continued beating him with it. Shortly after, prosecutors say the four co-defendants fled the scene.

Following the alleged attack, Ji was able to return himself to his apartment, but was found dead by his roommate the next morning. Medical reports had indicated that Ji suffered skull fractures, facial lacerations, and a broken nose.

Garcia, Guerrero, Del Carmen and Ochoa were arrested a few hours after the attack on Ji, after another alleged robbery and beating victim of the four co-defendants at Dockweiler State Beach was able to call the police and identify them.