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Two men to stand trial for USC grad students' slayings

October 07, 2013|By Jill Cowan
  • USC Prseident C. L. Max Nikias bows before images of victims Ying Wu and Ming Qu during a memorial service in the Shrine Auditorium on April 18, 2012.
USC Prseident C. L. Max Nikias bows before images of victims Ying Wu and Ming… (Luis Sinco, Los Angeles…)

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled Monday that two men will stand trial for murder in the deaths of two USC graduate students from China who were shot in an apparent robbery.

Judge Stephen A. Marcus said that there was "more than enough" evidence tying Bryan Barnes, 21, and Javier Bolden, 20, to the April 11, 2012, slayings.

Ying Wu and Ming Qu, both 23, were fatally shot as they sat in a BMW parked outside a house near the campus. The students' cellphones had been stolen.

Prosecutors say Barnes sold one phone to a store. The other phone was recovered at the residence where he was arrested, they said.

Using shell casings recovered at the scene, investigators also connected Barnes and Bolden to an earlier shooting in which one victim was shot eight times. Bolden was tied to another shooting in which two people were wounded. Marcus ordered them to stand trial in connection with those shootings as well.

The killing of Wu and Qu rattled the university community and attracted international attention.

In an a preliminary hearing that dragged on a week, prosecutors painted a picture of Barnes and Bolden as a hard-partying pair others described as like brothers.

Prosecutors played a recording of a May 2012 wiretapped phone call between Barnes and Bolden, in which they apparently discussed the attack on the students.

Marcus said he found the call to be a "critical" piece of evidence.

Barnes and Bolden are set to be arraigned on Nov. 7.


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Twitter: @jillcowan

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