USC Student Slayings: “Vile Monsters” Took Their Lives

Javier Bolden was convicted on two counts of first-degree murder for the killings of two USC graduate students shot in a double-parked car April 11, 2012

After a man received a life sentence Monday without the possibility of parole for the killings of two USC graduate students, one of the victim's father's said his hopes rested on his son and vanished when he was fatally shot in a botched robbery.

Wan Chi Qu talked about the bright future of Ming Qu and his girlfriend Ying Wu. Through an Mandarin interpreter, he called their killers evil and demanded an apology.

"Our two outstanding children are now gone but the vile monsters who took their lives are still alive today," Wan Chi Qu said. "We demand the two murders to apologize in person to bring some comfort to our two children who are in heaven today."

That apology never came at the sentencing hearing for 22-year-old Javier Bolden. Bolden was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Bolden was convicted Oct. 27 on two counts of first-degree murder of the two students. They were shot April 11, 2012, as they sat in a BMW double-parked on a street near the USC campus.

A second man, Bryan Barnes — described by the prosecution as a close friend of Bolden — pleaded guilty Feb. 5 to a pair of first-degree murder counts and admitted that he used a firearm during the crime. Barnes, also 22, was immediately sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Qu's father talked about the declining health of several family members since the murders.

Wan Chi Qu urged other parents to be careful about sending their children to other countries.

Throughout the sentencing, Bolden showed no emotion. He was reprimanded by the judge for his lack of remorse and for smiling as Qu's father poured out his grief and anger.

"You should be hanging your head in shame," said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephen Marcus. "You have nothing to smile about."

Marcus called it "truly one of the saddest cases that I've had to preside over," as he sentenced Bolden to two consecutive life sentences.

Bolden's attorney, Andrew Goldman, called the shootings a "horrible, horrible incident," but maintained that his client is not guilty. He said an appeal is expected.

Bolden was also found guilty of attempted murder for a Feb. 12, 2012, shooting about three miles away in which a man who was shot in the head suffered permanent brain damage, along with assault with a semi-automatic firearm on a woman who was shot in the leg by a stray bullet during that attack.

The killings of Wu and Qu sparked an outcry and worries about the safety of international students.

A study found USC slipped to number two on the list of leading U.S. host universities for international students after 12 years on top, though the enrollment of Chinese students there increased 20 percent last year.

Ming Qu's father asked for a death sentence for Barnes, who pleaded guilty in a move that spared him from a potential death sentence.

"Ming and Ying's lives were so young and precious," Qu's father said, telling jurors that they had been in love. He said he and his wife wake up crying at night and dream of their son covered in blood and looking for justice. "The killer must pay a life for a life."

City News Service contributed to this report.

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