LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A judge ordered two suspects to stand trial Monday in the shooting deaths of two USC graduate students from China last year.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephen Marcus said Bryan Barnes and Javier Bolden, both 21, will be tried on all charges following a preliminary hearing presenting evidence in the case.
“I believe the evidence more than supports the findings,” Marcus said.
Barnes and Bolden are accused of fatally shooting Ming Qu and Ying Wu, both 23-year-old electrical engineering students from China, in a botched armed robbery on April 11, 2012.
The victims were killed while sitting in Qu’s BMW, which was double-parked in the 2700 block of West Raymond Avenue, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Wu was found in the passenger seat and Qu on the steps of a nearby house where he collapsed while trying to summon help, police said.
The charges against the pair include murder and attempted murder. Bolden is also charged with assault with a semiautomatic firearm.
Both men face special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and murder during the commission of a robbery. The victims’ cell phones were both missing from the car and later traced to the suspects, according to police testimony.
Latiana Collins, the ex-girlfriend of Bryan Barnes, testified that she took a black iPhone to a Compton store in an unsuccessful attempt to activate it after Barnes told her he found it. Police say the phone belonged to Wu.
Police found a second phone in a search of the home where Barnes was arrested in May 2012, according to LAPD Det. Vincent Carreon, who said the phone’s passcode revealed it belonged to Qu.
Bolden faces additional counts of attempted murder and assault with a semiautomatic weapon in connection with a February 2012 incident at a party in South Los Angeles. Bolden allegedly opened fire, injuring one person and shooting another in the head. Both victims survived.
The judge said prosecution witnesses were credible and found ballistics evidence linked the gun from the earlier shootings to the murders of Qu and Wu.
Both suspects’ criminal records also include petty thefts, police reported. Sources say the two suspects have gang ties, but are not official gang members.
A wrongful death lawsuit filed against USC by the family of the students alleging the school misled prospective students about campus safety was later dismissed.
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