USC Grad Student Killings: Victim's Dad Calls Killer 'Human Trash' At Sentencing
Javier Bolden has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for his role in the April 2012 killing of two USC graduate students. However, one of the victims' fathers expressed his disappointment with the life sentence, saying that he wanted to see Bolden sentenced to death. The sentence came from Judge Stephen Marcus following a six-day trial in which Bolden, 22, was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder. On the night of the killings, Bolden and Bryan Barnes approached a BMW parked near USC with the intention of stealing it, but found two 23-year-old engineering students inside—Ying Wu and Ming Qu. When Wu and Qu refused to open their door for them, Barnes and Bolden opened fired, killing them both.
Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty for Bolden, and one of the victim's fathers denounced this shortly before the sentencing in court, according to City News Service. Ming Qu’s father Wanzhi Qu, who wanted the death penalty for Bolden, said that the judgement gave him "no comfort or consolation" and that it was "humiliating to the people of China as well." He also called Bolden and Barnes "human trash."
During Bolden's trial, prosecutors used a recording they'd acquired from Bolden's cellmate, a police informant who had been supplied with a video camera to secretly record him. Just hours after Bolden’s arrest, he was recorded bragging to the cellmate that he had shot someone. Months later, Bolden told the story again. This time, he explained how he and Barnes had both fired on the students in the car, but said that only bullets from Barnes' gun were able to make it through the glass.
Bolden's lawyer referred to these conversations as only "jail bravado," and evidence indicated that only Barnes had actually opened fire. However, under the "felony-murder rule," if multiple people commit a felony and someone gets killed in the process, all guilty parties can be held responsible, Neon Tommy reports.
Barnes is already serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to the murders in February to avoid the death penalty.
Bolden had previously also been found guilty of attempted murder for an unrelated shooting in February of 2012 in which Bolden shot a man in the head, City News Service reports.