Arraignment was postponed for a Long Beach man charged with capital murder in connection with the death of a Cal State University Northridge student whose body, after a long search, was found in the Coachella Valley.
Agustin Rosendo Fernandez, 28, is charged with killing Abdullah Abdullatif Alkadi, an electrical engineering student who disappeared Sept. 17 from his home on Reseda Boulevard, very close to the CSUN campus.
Alkadi’s body was found Oct. 16 along Interstate 10, east of Cook Street in Palm Desert, according to the Riverside County coroner’s office.
Fernandez appeared in court in the City of San Fernando on Monday, Nov. 17, but his arraignment was postponed until Jan. 21. The murder charge includes the special circumstance allegations of murder during a robbery and murder during a carjacking.
Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty.
Alkadi had listed an Audi A6 for sale on Craigslist at more than $30,000 and he disappeared while showing the car to a prospective buyer, according to Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck.
Police said Fernandez had Alkadi’s vehicle when he was arrested, and he made statements that led to Alkadi’s body.
Alkadi’s body was found about 40 miles east of the Beaumont location where the engineering student’s cellphone had last been used, just before it was deactivated.
“The investigation determined that Agustin Fernandez killed Mr. Alkadi in an attempt to keep both the Audi and the purchase price,” Beck said.
Authorities did not release any details about how Alkadi died, but prosecutors contend Fernandez used a knife to carry out the crime. The chief said the case points to a common danger facing people who sell merchandise online.
“It’s a case that is all too common in the county and city of Los Angeles,” Beck said. “I think that 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. This happened, not the victim’s fault, but with (an) absolutely tragic, tragic outcome.”
Police have recommended that people selling cars meet prospective buyers near a police station.
Alkadi was part of a close knit campus community and friends said he had encouraged others to attend CSUN. Abdulrahman Albatti had previously studied with Alkadi in Chicago.
“I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him,” he said.
At a memorial service held last month at CSUN, Alkadi was described as a “bright young man with a bright future who left too soon” by Dr. S.K. Ramesh, dean of engineering and computer science.
Alkadi’s older brother, Ahmed, acknowledged the CSUN students who had become more than friends but were considered “family.” He asked people to pray for his brother and urged others to be careful.
“Life is not as peaceful as we think it is. I don’t want to see this happen to someone because you trusted the wrong person.”