Crime

Man who used Craig's List ad to kill student sentenced to life in prison

PALM DESERT, Calif. - A man was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Friday for killing a Cal State Northridge student from Saudi Arabia who had placed an online advertisement about a car he was trying to sell, then dumping the victim's body in the Coachella Valley.

KESQ and CBS Local 2 reported on the best ways to protect yourself when buying or selling anything over the internet after Abdullah Abdullatif Alkadi's body was found along I-10 in Palm Desert in 2014. 29247720

Agustin Rosendo Fernandez, 30, of Long Beach, was convicted June 9 of first-degree murder for the stabbing death of Alkadi.

At the sentencing hearing in San Fernando, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Hayden Zacky said Fernandez killed an innocent young student in a ``planned and premeditated'' attack, then ``callously'' disposed of the body. His dumping of Alkadi's body ``shows a cold, callous and malicious heart,'' Zacky said.

In addition to the murder conviction, jurors also found true the special circumstance allegations that the 23-year-old engineering student was murdered during the commission of a robbery and carjacking, along with an allegation that Fernandez used a knife as a deadly weapon.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office opted not to seek the death penalty against Fernandez.

Alkadi disappeared Sept. 17, 2014, from his home near the college campus. His body was found about a month later along Interstate 10 east of Cook Street, about 40 miles east of the Beaumont location where Alkadi's cell phone had last been used just before being deactivated, authorities said.

Alkadi listed his 2011 Audi for sale in an online advertisement for $36,500, and he agreed to sell the car to Fernandez for $35,000 after an initial meeting with him, according to a sentencing memorandum filed by Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Barnes.

``When the defendant went to pick up the Audi he killed Alkadi so he could keep both the Audi and the money,'' the prosecutor wrote. ``He was eventually arrested and confessed to the homicide.''

The car was found parked at Fernandez' apartment in the 6800 block of Long Beach Boulevard, authorities said. Fernandez has remained in jail since his arrest in October 2014.

Shortly after Fernandez was taken into custody, Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck cautioned the public to take precautions when placing or responding to online ads.

``The investigation determined that Agustin Fernandez killed Mr. Alkadi in an attempt to keep both the Audi and the purchase price,'' the police chief said. ``The message for the public here is that you have to beware when using online Internet sites to sell anything. Craigslist, eBay, all the other opportunities for sales are also opportunities to let unwanted people into your lives.''


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