DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - A man convicted in the beating death of a USC graduate student from China has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Andrew Garcia, 21, was found guilty of first-degree murder for his role in the death of Xinran Ji. He was sentenced Wednesday to life without parole, plus five years and eight months, in prison. It was the maximum sentence Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge George Lomeli could give.
The 24-year-old engineering student died after being hit with a baseball bat and wrench during an attempted robbery while walking home from a study group on July 24, 2014.
Ji ran away, but Garcia eventually caught up to him and hit him repeatedly with the bat. Ji made his way back to his apartment, where he died and was found hours later by a roommate.
Ji's parents flew in from China for the hearing about the killing of their only son. Both appeared extremely distraught.
"People our age are now prepping their daughters' and their sons' wedding and their life is full of joy...instead, for us, we are paying tribute to our son, crying ," Ji's father said in court as streams of tears rolled down his face.
Garcia, along with co-defendants Albert Ochoa, Jonathan Del Carmen and Alejandra Guerrero, also robbed a man and a woman near Dockweiler Beach that day, prosecutors said.
Guerrero, who was 16 when the murder occurred, was convicted in October 2016 of one count each of first-degree murder, robbery, attempted robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. A sentencing date for Guerrero has not been set.
Del Carmen and Ochoa are awaiting trial.