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2nd man gets life sentence in Chinese students' murder in LA

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-11-18 20:40

2nd man gets life sentence in Chinese students' murder in LA

LOS ANGELES - The second man convicted of murdering two University of South California (USC) graduate students from China during a robbery was sentenced to life in prison without parole on Monday.

After a month of jury trial, 22-year-old Javier Bolden who joined in the USC murder on April 11, 2012, was sentenced to two life terms in prison without parole for the shooting case.

Javier Bolden was convicted on Oct 27 of two counts of first-degree murder for the killings of Ying Wu and Ming Qu, both aged 23 and studying electrical engineering at USC.

The two victims were shot while sitting inside a locked car on a street near the USC campus.

Bolden was not the shooter, but part of a group that planned to rob the two victims.

Bryan Barnes, whom described by the prosecution as a close friend of Bolden, pleaded guilty on Feb 5 to a pair of first-degree murder counts involving the USC graduate students and admitted that he used a firearm during the crime.

Barnes, 22, was immediately sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Barnes fired two shots inside the BMW in which the two victims were sitting, the prosecutor told jurors. Bolden told Barnes to "get what you can get" as the two victims were dying in front of him, and Barnes grabbed two cellular phones.

Qu crawled out of the vehicle and across the street to try to get help after he was shot once in the head. Wu was shot once in the left side of the body and once in her right arm.

Deputy District Attorney Dan Akemon told jurors during the trial that the 23-year-old graduate students were "helpless victims", Bolden and Barnes were "essentially ambushing" them and "counting down the seconds of the lives of these victims" as they approached the car from behind while communicating on cell phones.

"This crime has stained the reputation of Los Angeles and has frightened USC students," Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephen A. Marcus said. He called it "truly one of the saddest cases that I've had to preside over."

Bolden was also found guilty of attempted murder for an attack on Feb 12, 2012, about three miles away in which a man who was shot in the head and suffered permanent brain damage. Bolden also was convicted of assault with a semi-automatic firearm in connection with a woman hit in the leg by a stray bullet during the attack.

Qu's father and Wu's parents appeared at the hearing. Wanzhi Qu, the father of Ming Qu, delivered a statement before sentencing.

"We would like to use our bloody lesson to remind all Chinese students, who are currently studying in the United States, to always be careful and keep safety a top priority to avoid a similar tragedy," Qu said.

"Meanwhile, we would also like to remind the parents of these students to consider the various risk factors and be cautions in sending your kids overseas. We also call for the college and universities in the United States protect the safety of foreign students on campus and in the communities surrounding the campus."

Xinran Ji, another USC Chinese graduate student who was majoring in electrical engineering, was attacked while walking back to his apartment near the campus around 12:45 am (0945 GMT) on July 24. He was found dead in his apartment hours later. A trail of blood marked the path Ji walked.

"Xinran Ji (Ming Qu and Ying Wu) we all went to the same professional school. The University did some efforts on security after those cases. But the students still feel disappointed, because we have lost three young lives in two years," Xu Yuan, a Chinese USC engineer student, told Xinhua

"The situation makes us feel worried," Xu added.

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