Man Sentenced To Life In Prison For Killing Chinese USC Students During Botched Robbery

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Bryan Barnes (Facebook)

One man was been sentenced to life in prison today after pleading guilty to killing two USC students in a robbery gone awry in 2012.

Bryan Barnes, 21, pleaded guilty today to murdering Chinese graduate students Ming Qu and Ying Wu on the night April 11, 2012, according to the District Attorney's Office. Barnes was sentenced to two consecutive terms of life in prison without a chance at parole. The other suspect in the killings Javier Bolden, 21, is due back in court for a pretrial hearing March 12, while prosecutors decide whether to charge him with the death penalty.

It was an emotional day in court, and both of the fathers of the victims addressed Barnes, according to City News Service.

Xiyong Wu spoke through a Mandarin interpreter of the high hopes that he once had for his daughter, who planned to return to China after getting a degree in electrical engineering: "However, on the night of April 11 ... she was murdered cold-blooded by this murderer." He added, "The pain of losing our only child is excruciating ... He has no right to take away my daughter's life."

Wanzhi Qu said that just days before his son's death, they learned that he had fallen in love: "But, in only nine days, our joy had turned to mourning because you killed them in cold blood." Qu continued, "Our children left us and you took our heart and soul away ... We have lost everything. You devastated our lives. You deserve the death penalty."

Judge Stephen A. Marcus told the victims' parents that he hoped today could provide "some measure of justice" for the "horrific tragedy." Barnes said nothing except to plead guilty to the charges.

Qu and Wu were gunned down on a rainy night two years ago off-campus. Wu was found slumped over in the passenger seat of a double-parked BMW whose windows were blown out on both sides. Qu managed to escape the car, but he collapsed on the steps of a nearby home.

The parents filed a lawsuit against USC, claiming that the school didn't provide enough off-campus security and that the school doesn't do enough to make prospective students aware of off-campus crime. A judge threw out the wrongful death suit. In the meantime, the university has rolled out some panopticon-like security measures.