LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Opening statements were underway Thursday in the trial of a man charged in the shooting deaths of two USC graduate students from China.

Javier Bolden, and Bryan Barnes, both 21, were charged in the April 2012 deaths of Ming Qu and Ying Wu, both 23.

READ MORE: What To Expect As 'Supercharge' Storm Moves Into SoCal

Barnes pleaded guilty Feb. 5 to two counts of first-degree murder and was immediately sentenced to life without parole.

The two men reportedly shot and killed Ying Wu and Ming Qu, both 23-year-old electrical engineering graduate students, in a April 2002 botched robbery.

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.

READ MORE: Associate Pastor Shot To Death At Compton Intersection

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 victims’ cell phones were stolen from the vehicle and later traced back to Barnes and Bolden, Los Angeles police said.

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.

MORE NEWS: Vigil Held To Honor Life Of Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins Killed In Movie Set Shooting

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)