Two Men Accused in USC Slayings Plead Not Guilty

Bryan Barnes and Javier Bolden are suspected in the killings of two USC graduate students from China

By Melissa Pamer and Antonio Castelan
|  Tuesday, Oct 23, 2012  |  Updated 10:21 AM PDT
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The suspects in the April 11 slayings of two USC grad students were arraigned Wednesday, pleading not guilty. Bryan Barnes and Javier Bolden have been charged with murder in the shootings, which rocked the university community and have generated intense interest in China, where victims Ming Qu and Ying Wu were from. Antonio Castelan reports from downtown Los Angeles for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on July 18, 2012.

Antonio Castelan

The suspects in the April 11 slayings of two USC grad students were arraigned Wednesday, pleading not guilty. Bryan Barnes and Javier Bolden have been charged with murder in the shootings, which rocked the university community and have generated intense interest in China, where victims Ming Qu and Ying Wu were from. Antonio Castelan reports from downtown Los Angeles for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on July 18, 2012.

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The men accused in the shooting deaths of two USC graduate students from China pleaded not guilty to all charges on Wednesday.

Bryan Barnes, 20, and Javier Bolden, 19, have been charged with murder in the April 11 slayings of two electrical engineering students in a crime that made headlines globally.

They pleaded not guilty in Los Angeles Superior Court Wednesday morning, a spokeswoman with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said. Both were charged with two counts of murder in the USC slayings.

Cameras were not allowed in the courtroom. At one point, the judge appeared to get angry at the defandants when she saw them talking and smiling at each other.

Ming Qu and Ying Wu were both 23 when they were shot while parked outside a home a few blocks west of the University of Southern California campus.

Los Angeles police described the slayings as the result of a botched robbery.

Authorities had also said the Barnes and Bolden were wanted in previous shootings in South Los Angeles, and on Wednesday they pleaded not guilty to charges in two of those incidents.

They pair were charged with attempted premeditated murder -- one count for Barnes and two counts for Bolden -- in an Dec. 3 alleged shooting at a party in South Los Angeles that had been previously described by the DA's office.

Bolden was also charged with assault with a firearm in a Feb. 12 incident at another South LA party.

All of the charges against the men included additional allegations that may increase their time in prison, if convicted. They face life without parole; prosecutors have yet to decide whether they will seek the death penalty.

An arraignment originally scheduled for May 22 was had been postponed until June 25. That hearing was again postponed when the judge granted defense attorneys' request for more time, the Los Angeles Times reported at the time.

USC has the nation's largest portion of international students of any university, including a sizeable group from China, where the killings were reported in detail. 

Hong Kong reporter Ni Jiang, who covered the hearing, said the case has been closely watched in China.

"They send their children overseas to America for school. Now there's this big incident and everyone's kind of scared," Jiang said.

Bolden and Barnes are scheduled for their next court appearance on Sept. 20, when a date will be set for a preliminary hearing, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Judge Shelly Torrealba ordered Barnes and Bolden to remain in the downtown Men's Central Jail without bail, according to City News Service.

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