updated 12/20/2005 12:15:46 PM ET 2005-12-20T17:15:46

A car salesman has been charged with murdering the great-great-granddaughter of Italian educator Maria Montessori.

Jonathan Phong Khanh Tran, 20, faces arraignment Wednesday in the 2004 killing of 15-year-old Hanna Montessori, a runaway from a youth detention center in Marietta, Ga. He also is accused of sexually assaulting three other women.

Police said Tran met Montessori when he gave her a ride in his truck. Prosecutors have said Montessori was working as a prostitute. She died of a head wound in January 2004 after being found unconscious in the street in Santa Ana. She was identified three months after her death.

Tran was arrested Nov. 4 on unrelated charges, and was charged with Hanna’s killing Dec. 8.

Montessori’s father has said Hanna became involved in drugs after he and his wife divorced in 1999.

The teenager’s great-great-grandmother, Maria, founded the Montessori teaching method in Italy a century ago, and it is used in thousands of schools around the world. She believed children learn not so much from their teachers as from their surroundings, their peers and themselves.

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