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Mental Competency Of Alleged Xinran Ji Murderer To Be Evaluated

Rebecca Gibian |
February 3, 2015 | 8:46 p.m. PST

Senior News Editor

Andrew Garcia in court. (LA Times)
Andrew Garcia in court. (LA Times)
Andrew Garcia — one of the four people accused of murdering a USC student — had his first mental competency hearing Tuesday morning. Garcia could face the death penalty for murder committed in the attempt robbery of Xinran Ji, who was walking home from a study group.

SEE ALSO: Arraignment Postponed In Xinran Ji Case 

Garcia’s defense attorney requested a long comprehensive report be completed instead of a preliminary report, pushing the next competency hearing back until March 17. 

“Most likely, if there is no surprise, I think that the judge will appoint an expert to evaluate his mental condition,” said Rose Tsai, who represents Ji’s parents. “If that’s the case, the prosecutor will also ask for an expert.”

Held in Department 95, which is the Mental Health Department of the Los Angeles Superior Court, mental competency hearings deem whether the person is fit to face trial.

In Garcia’s case, if he is considered incompetent in March, it does not mean he will never go to trial, but it will be delayed, according to Tsai.  

SEE ALSO: USC Student Attempted to Flee Fatal Attack

“Every delay… whether it be a tactic by the defense attorney or the defendents has been difficult for Xinran’s parents,” said Tsai. “Their only hope at this time is to see justice done. It is very important for their peace of mind.”

Garcia, 18, was the second person to beat Ji with a baseball bat on July 24 and he made an outburst during his appearance in court on January 13, prompting the mental competency hearing. 

For more coverage of the Xinran Ji trial, click here

Reach Senior News Editor Rebecca Gibian here or follow her on Twitter here



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