A UCLA “perfect son” student and his friend from Fresno were charged Tuesday with the stabbing murder of a 21-year-old UCLA student whose body was discovered after a fire at her Westwood apartment.
Alberto Hinojosa Medina and UCLA student Eric Marquez, both 22, both pleaded not guilty at the Airport Branch Courthouse in Los Angeles to charges stemming from the stabbing death of Andrea DelVesco.
Medina is charged with burglarizing an apartment in the 10900 block of Roebling Street on Sept. 21, then entering DelVesco’s apartment in the same block, stabbing her to death and setting the apartment on fire, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
The Fresno man is charged with one count each of murder and arson of a dwelling and two counts of first-degree burglary. The murder charge against Medina includes a special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of a burglary, along with an allegation that he personally used a knife.
Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty against Medina.
Marquez is charged with one count of murder and two counts of first- degree burglary. He could face up to life in prison if convicted as charged.
At their arraignment, Medina was ordered to remain jailed without bail. Marquez’s bail was set at $1.1 million. They are due back in court Oct. 22.
DelVesco’s body was found inside her apartment by firefighters. The 21- year-old Austin, Texas, woman — a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority — was entering her fourth year at UCLA studying psychology and Spanish, and was facing drug-related charges at the time of her death.
Authorities have not said if her death was linked to the drug case against her.
The two men were linked to DelVesco’s death through forensic evidence collected at the scene of the Sept. 21 fire in the 10900 block of Roebling Street, as well as witness statements, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
“There’s a considerable amount of forensic evidence,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said.
Medina was arrested Saturday in Fresno, and Marquez was taken into custody Sunday near his apartment in Westwood, according to police.
According to UCLA, Marquez is a fifth-year undergraduate student at the university, majoring in biology. Medina is not affiliated with the university, according to UCLA.
Medina’s father told the Los Angeles Times, “He told me that he didn’t do it.”
Marquez’s mother said her son is a hard-working student who wants to be a doctor.
“He’s a perfect son,” she told the paper in Spanish, with her younger son translating, adding that she doesn’t believe the allegations.
—City News Service