LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — After spending less than two days deliberating, jurors found a man guilty in the 2012 slayings of two USC engineering students from China.
Javier Bolden, 22, was convicted Monday of two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the killings of foreign exchange students Ming Qu and Ying Wu, both 23.
While the verdicts were read, Bolden showed no emotion, while his mother openly wept in court.
Testimony showed that he and a friend, Bryan Barnes, approached the students, who were seated in a parked BMW, during a robbery attempt.
When the students wouldn’t open the car door, they were shot by Barnes, who pleaded guilty in February in a deal to avoid the death penalty. Barnes received a life sentence.
The graduate students were described as “helpless victims” as they sat inside the car. The prosecutor also said they were an attractive target.
The incident happened near the USC campus and gained international headlines.
During the trial, the prosecution presented a secret jail recording. In it, Bolden is heard telling his cellmate, who turned out to be an informant, that he didn’t pull the trigger. Bolden also claimed that he attempted to persuade Barnes not to shoot the pair but to take their cellphones, according to KCAL9’s Dave Lopez.
The Associated Press reports that prosecutors didn’t seek the death penalty in Bolden’s case; thus, he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole during his sentencing hearing scheduled for Nov. 17.