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3 Students from China Enter Plea Deal, Dodge Torture Charges in 2015 Assault

Three students from China studying in the United States will see jail time after agreeing to a plea deal earlier in January for kidnapping and assaulting one of their classmates last March.

The three — Yunyao "Helen" Zhai, Yuhan "Coco" Yang, and Xinlei "John" Zhang — were originally facing charges of kidnapping, assault, and torture for being part of a group of teens that forced another student — Yiran "Camellia" Liu — to clean the floor of a Southern California ice cream parlor with her bare hands and then took that student to a nearby park where she was forcibly striped, kicked, slapped, forced to eat her own hair, and burned with cigarettes, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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Under the plea deal, the three will not face torture charges, which carry a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Instead, the three entered pleas of no contest to charges of kidnapping and assault, the Los Angeles District Attorney's office told NBC News.

The students, who are all 19 years old, are scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 17. Zhai and Yang, who both admitted to personally inflicting "great bodily injury during the commission of the crime" as part of the plea deal, are expected to receive 13-and 10-year sentences in state prison, respectively, according to the DA. Zhang is expected to receive a six-year prison sentence.

One case remains open against 20-year-old Zheng Lu, who is facing charges of kidnapping, assault, and torture, according to court documents obtained by NBC News. He entered a plea of not guilty on Dec. 11, according to the DA. A hearing is scheduled in his case on Jan. 19. The prosecutor declined a request for comment.

The cases drew wide attention to "parachute kids," young international students who travel to the United States with little to no parental supervision to receive an education.

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