On Wednesday, 21-year old Bryan Barnes, one of two men charged with the murder of two USC graduate students from China, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder. According to the Los Angeles Times, Barnes will serve two consecutive life terms and will not be granted parole.
On April 11, 2012, Ming Qu and Ying Wu were fatally shot by Barnes, 20 years old at the time, while parked outside in a neighborhood near campus.
According to the L.A. Times, Wu’s black iPhone, which was stolen from the scene of the crime, linked Los Angeles police detectives to Barnes and his presumed accomplice, then 19-year old Javier Bolden. Bolden’s trial has yet to be held.
Prosecutors said during preliminary hearings that the GPS in Wu’s phone lead police to a warehouse and evidence implicated Barnes.
By court order, investigators were allowed to wiretap Barnes’ telephone conversations. According to the L.A. Times, in one call with Bolden, Barnes mentions how they “ran up on them little Asian people,” implying that he had shot them.
Additionally, a former girlfriend of Barnes testified that Barnes had admitted to stealing the cell phone, and told her that someone may have been shot during the robbery.
Judge Stephen A. Marcus, who presided over the trial, declared there was “more than enough evidence” in connecting Barnes and Bolden to the murders of Qu and Wu.
According to the L.A. Times, investigators also suspect Barnes and Bolden in another shooting in which a victim was hit eight times. Bolden is also being investigated in conjunction with a shooting that injured two people.