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Final defendant sentenced in Chinese student murder

Life without parole

City News Service | 3/14/2019, midnight

A young man has been sentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole for his role in the beating death of a USC graduate student from China, who was attacked near campus while walking back to his apartment, after a study session.

Despite the life-without-parole sentence, state law requires that Alberto Ochoa be given a parole hearing in 25 years because he was 17 at the time of the crime, according to Deputy District Attorney John McKinney.

A jury in downtown Los Angeles, jury deliberated about two hours before convicting Ochoa, now 22, on Dec. 12 of first-degree murder for the July 24, 2014, attack on Xinran Ji. The 24-year-old electrical engineering student was able to stagger away from the attack scene, and reached his nearby apartment, where he was found dead by one of his roommates.

Three other young people were previously convicted and sentenced for the attack.

Jurors also found that Ochoa was an “actual killer,” along with finding true the special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of an attempted robbery, and an allegation that he used a baseball bat during the attack, for which three other young people were previously convicted and sentenced.

The panel also found Ochoa guilty of one count each of assault with a deadly weapon, robbery, and attempted robbery involving an attack on a man and woman at Dockweiler Beach about two hours after Ji’s beating.

Alejandra Guerrero, now 20, and Andrew Garcia, now 23, are each serving life prison terms without the possibility of parole after being convicted of first-degree murder and other charges. The getaway driver, Jonathan Del Carmen, now 23, was sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder.

Rose Tsai, a representative for the victim’s parents, told the judge that Ji was “their only child, the joy and pride of their lives and the hope of their future” and that he was senselessly killed.

“The case is finally coming to an end today ... However, there will be two persons who will continue to remember him and miss him every day,” Tsai said. “So the only possible consolation for their tremendous suffering and loss will be for this court to render the justice that they hope for.”