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Man Charged In Killing Of Two USC Students Bragged About The Deed To His Cellmate

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A man currently on trial for the murder of two USC students during an attempted robbery was allegedly caught on tape bragging about the crime to a cellmate.

Javier Bolden, 22, is charged with two counts of murder in the death of two 23-year-old USC engineering students, Ying Wu and Ming Qu, who were shot in April of 2012 during a robbery attempt near USC's campus. During yesterday's opening statements, prosecutors played recordings acquired from Bolden's cellmate, a police informant who'd been given a video camera to stealthily record him. Hours after Bolden was arrested, he was recorded telling the cellmate that he had shot someone, saying, "Boom, popped him," L.A. Times reports.

The cellmate caught Bolden again talking about the crime a few months later. On the recording, Bolden explains that he and his friend, Bryan Barnes, flanked a BMW with the intention of stealing it, but found Qu and Wu inside. When the pair wouldn't open the door for them, Bolden said Barnes shot them. He said he tried to shoot them, too, but his bullets failed to make it through the glass. Afterwards, he said they sold the guns. Barnes is currently serving a life sentence in prison after pleading guilty to the murders in February to avoid the death penalty.

According to Bolden's lawyer, Andrew Goldman, all that talk about "popping" the students was just Bolden's way of trying to seem tough, something Goldman called "jail bravado." Some of that may be true—evidence shows that only Barnes opened fire. However, Deputy D.A. Dan Akemon also played footage from Bolden's questioning in which he says that he and Barnes would specifically look for well-off targets around USC to rob. Goldman argued that his client only admitted to the shootings after an hour of police questioning in which he was threatened with the possibility of the death penalty.

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However, this isn't the first time Bolden has been accused of a shooting, nor the first time he has allegedly bragged about it afterwards. He is facing an attempted murder charge linked to a shooting outside a Vermont Square banquet hall. He was reportedly caught bragging about that shooting to an unknown woman on his phone, not knowing that police had tapped his phone.