A 19-year-old who was part of a group suspected of fatally beating a USC graduate student with a baseball bat told authorities that he has been in the U.S. illegally for seven years.
The suspect, Jonathan Del Carmen, told authorities of his illegal status in an interview at the Los Angeles County jail, according to a federal source reached by The Daily Caller with knowledge of the interview who was not authorized to speak to the press about the investigation.
The Los Angeles Times issued a similar report confirming Del Carmen’s immigration status.
Police believe that Del Carmen, and three other suspects between 16- and 18-years-old, attacked 24-year-old Xinran Ji with a baseball bat and a wrench during an attempted robbery early on the morning of July 24 as the engineering student was walking home from a study group.
Del Carmen and the 18-year-old accomplice face capital murder charges. The two younger suspects face life in prison if convicted.
A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that the agency has issued an immigration detainer against Del Carmen.
“Officers assigned to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Criminal Alien Program encountered Mr. Del Carmen at the Los Angeles County Jail July 30 following his incarceration on murder and robbery charges,” ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said in a statement released to TheDC.
“ICE has lodged an immigration detainer against Mr. Del Carmen, requesting that the Sheriff’s Department turn him over to ICE for possible follow-up immigration enforcement action if and when he is released from local custody.”
“Database checks indicate Mr. Del Carmen has had no prior enforcement encounters with the Department of Homeland Security,” Kice said.
A detainer does not preempt the state of California’s case against Del Carmen. It merely notifies local law enforcement that an investigation into an individuals’ immigration status has been started.
According to the LA Times, authorities believe Ji attempted to get away from his attackers only to be beaten a second time. He is also believed to have made it to his home, where he later died. His body was discovered by his roommates.
Police also believe that after attacking Ji, three of the teens — not including Del Carmen — used the baseball bat to attack and rob a man and woman at Dockweiler State Beach.
They were charged with second-degree robbery, attempted second-degree robbery, and assault with a deadly weapon in that attack.
The man was able to get away from the attack and flagged down police.