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Man Found Guilty In Slaying Of 2 USC Graduate Students

By Marisa Gerber | Los Angeles Times

A jury convicted a 22-year-old man of first-degree murder Monday in the shooting deaths of two graduate students who were killed while sitting in a parked car near the University of Southern California.

Javier Bolden was the second defendant charged in the April 11, 2012, killing of Ming Qu and Ying Wu, 23-year-old engineering students from China. Bolden was also found guilty of attempted murder and assault with a firearm in a separate shooting involving two victims outside a banquet hall in South Los Angeles a couple of months earlier.

The verdicts came after a six-day trial, in which a prosecutor played the full video of detectives interrogating Bolden after his arrest. At first, Bolden was evasive. When a detective asked him if he remembered being involved in any shootings, Bolden responded flatly: "No."

An hour into the interrogation, one of the detectives told Bolden they were talking about something that happened near USC and urged him to speak up. The detective said that it could be a death penalty case, and that a lack of remorse could make Bolden look heartless.

"Do you want the jury to see something like that?" he asked.

Before long, Bolden changed course, admitting that he was near USC the night of the shooting. He then drew a diagram of where the victim's BMW had been parked when he and a friend approached the vehicle, hoping to "get some cash."

Bolden's attorney, Andrew Goldman, told the jury of seven women and five men that his client hadn't really been at the crime scene that night, but that he felt pressured into making a false confession after the detective brought up the death penalty.

Bolden had pieced together information about the shooting, Goldman said, from media coverage and from conversations with his friend, Bryan Barnes, who pleaded guilty in February to two counts of first-degree murder in the USC shootings.

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Background Photo Credit: Kasia Broussalian © 2015