The last of four defendants was charged with first-degree murder Wednesday for the 2014 death of graduate student Xinran Ji.
Alberto Ochoa, 21, will be sentenced in March after being convicted of murder, assault with a deadly weapon, second-degree robbery and attempted second-degree robbery, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
“We certainly feel very rewarded and consoled [with] the fact that the last [defendant] is also being convicted by the jury,” said Rose Tsai, the attorney for Ji’s family. “Xinran’s parents … feel very grateful to the verdict they had learned yesterday.”
Ji was attacked with an aluminum bat and wrench during an attempted robbery in July 2014 while walking to his apartment from a study group around 1 a.m., the Daily Trojan previously reported.
According to the news release, Ochoa struck Ji with a bat. Ji tried to run, but one of Ochoa’s co-assailants caught up and struck him repeatedly. Ji was found dead in his apartment by his roommate hours later.
Christopher Chaney, the attorney representing Ochoa, said he disagrees with the conviction and will file for appeal after sentencing.
“I’ve been with Mr. Ochoa since he was 17 years old, and he’s been very sorry about what happened to Mr. Ji,” Chaney said. “It’s been our position that he did not contribute to the actual death of Mr. Ji, but he has recognized that he was a participant.”
Ochoa’s co-defendants Alejandra Guerrera and Andrew Garcia were convicted and sentenced for first-degree murder, robbery, attempted robbery and assault with a deadly weapon in October 2016 and August 2017, respectively. They are facing life in prison without parole. Jonathan Del Carmen, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last year, was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.
Tsai said Ji’s parents traveled to California in 2017 to attend Garcia’s conviction and thank the community for their support over the years. Since Ji’s death, Tsai said international students have expressed that they think public safety practices and awareness have improved.
“The other consolation that Xinran’s parents had felt when they were here last year that was the pay back they received from the community that Xinran’s case has brought more awareness and has brought changes in a positive way to public safety and security for society,” Tsai said. “The last thing they want is for their son to die in vain.”