A Los Angeles man was found guilty of shooting dead two graduate students from China, studying at the University of Southern California, or USC, while attempting to rob them in 2012. Javier Bolden, 22, was convicted with first-degree murder.
Ming Qu and Ying Wu, both 23-year-old engineering students, were fatally shot on April 11, 2012, while they were sitting in a parked car outside Ying’s home. The spot where the two were shot was just a few blocks from the USC campus, according to Reuters. While Wu was reportedly found slumped over the passenger seat, Qu staggered to a house nearby where he collapsed.
In February, Bryan Barnes, 21, a second defendant in the case, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, after he pleaded guilty to being the gunman in the incident. Bolden will be sentenced on Nov. 17 and faces a maximum punishment of a life sentence without the possibility of parole. He was also convicted of attempted murder and assault with a firearm for a separate shooting incident earlier that year.
Bolden, who had initially denied involvement later admitted that he was near the USC campus on the night of the shooting and also reportedly drew a diagram of where the victims were parked. He had said, according to the Los Angeles Times, that he and a friend had approached the car with hopes of “getting some cash.” Bolden’s attorney Andrew Goldman claimed that his client was not at the location of the murder but had made a false statement after hearing a detective mention the death penalty.
Earlier this year, 24-year-old Xinran Ji, another graduate engineering student from China at USC, was beaten to death with a baseball bat during a robbery. Four teenagers pleaded not guilty to the offense, which occurred near his apartment in Los Angeles.
The incidents have led USC's officials to deploy additional security in the form of neighborhood ambassadors, expanded car escorts and enhanced video monitoring, according to Reuters. USC has the largest foreign student population among U.S. universities, and about 3,000 of the total 8,000 international students are from China, the Los Angeles Times reported.