Opening statements took place Friday in the trial of an 18-year-old girl who is one of four people accused of violently beating USC grad student Xinran Ji to death.
The 24-year-old engineering student from China was attacked in July 2014 while returning from a study session after what appears to be an attempted robbery. A train of blood led to his 30th Street apartment near the university, police have said.
Jonathan Del Carmen, Andrew Garcia, Alberto Ochoa and Alejandra Guerrero pled not guilty to murder and other charges in August 2014. The proceedings so far center on Guerrero's role; her co-defendants will face trial in November.
The suspects were all teenagers at the time, with Guerrero the youngest at 16. However, she is being tried as an adult.
All four teens were charged with one count of murder each with the special circumstance of murder during an attempted robbery in the violent attack that was caught on surveillance cameras.
Garcia, Ochoa and Guerrero were charged with a special allegation that they used a dangerous weapon, a metal bat, in the beating. That weapon was submitted in court as evidence Friday.
"Xinran came here to this country to chase the American dream," Qiang Xiao, a Ji family supporter, said outside the courthouse Friday. "His right is terminated due to this crime. So now we want to see justice can be served."