Prosecution attorney Daniel Akemon presented his closing arguments to the jury on the sixth day of the trial of Javier Bolden Thursday morning at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles.
Bolden, 22, is charged with the 2012 murders of USC graduate students Ming Qu and Ying Wu. He is also charged with attempted murder and assault with a firearm, the details of which came to light in Thursday’s testimony.
On the night of Feb. 12, 2012, Javier Bolden entered a party at a banquet hall in the Vermont Square neighborhood in South Los Angeles armed with a semi-automatic 9-millimeter Luger pistol. Bolden appeared “turned up in the wrong way,” said Charles Darden, a witness who testified to the scene.
Following an altercation inside the banquet hall, Bolden allegedly shot and critically wounded two people and fled the scene of the crime. Authorities recovered shell casings from the Vermont Square incident that matched those linked to the April murders of Qu and Wu.
Akemon argued that Bolden assisted Bryan Barnes, who plead guilty to the murder of Qu and Wu and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Though Bolden did not fire the gun that killed the two students, he participated in the robbery alongside Barnes. Bolden is accountable for Barnes’s actions under the felony murder rule, which states that all participants in a felony or attempted felony can be charged with and found guilty of murder.
“Mr. Bolden is not the type of guy to let things go … Mr. Bolden is going to go take care of business, and that’s what he did,” Akemon said, referring to the Vermont Square incident.
When Bolden was apprehended by police officers in May, he told his cellmate, a confidential informant, that he had been involved in the USC killings. The prosecution showed a video of Bolden’s admission during Thursday’s proceedings.
“I looked at him [Qu]. He was leaned over … She [Wu] was laying there … and I took off running,” Bolden said in the video.
At the end of his closing argument, Akemon told the jury that there was “no mystery in this case.”
“The people ask that you find Mr. Bolden guilty of the murder of Ming Wu and the murder of Ying Qu and that you find true the special circumstances that they were murdered during the course of a robbery,” Akemon said.
During the defense’s closing argument, alternate public defender Andrew Goldman said that evidence of only two shell casings found at the scene of the Vermont Square shooting did not necessarily indicate that only two bullets were fired.
He said there was a possibility of another shooter with a revolver, saying that revolvers retain shell casings after bullets are fired.
Goldman characterized Bolden as “cold, scared and young” in his interrogation with police detectives in which he said he was involved in the USC murders. Bolden was 19 at the time of the interview.
Goldman argued that police had intimidated Bolden during the interrogation by mentioning the possibility of the death penalty.
“We don’t want to play games with you,” Detective Vincent Carreon said. “We want to give you the opportunity to tell us what happened out there.”
The lawyers also argued about the significance of the vehicle that the two victims were sitting in when they were shot. Bolden identified the car as a blue BMW 7 Series. In fact, the car was a gray BMW 3 Series.
Goldman said that Bolden’s lack of knowledge about the details of the crime in his conversation with the police informant showed that he was fabricating his involvement to appear tough to his cellmate.
“These are the details, these are the things that are important,” Goldman said in his closing argument.
Akemon disagreed, saying that Bolden was going into excruciating detail about things only the killer would know and that the discrepancies were a difficult distinction to make when fleeing from the crime scene.
The murders took place around 1 a.m. on April 11, 2012. It was raining at the time of the shooting.
Akemon also said that the mention of the death penalty had no visible effect on Mr. Bolden.
“I’d be a blubbering pile of goo at that moment,” Akemon said.
In his rebuttal, he characterized Bolden as a street smart individual who could hold his own with police detectives.
Judge Stephen A. Marcus will give the jury, made up of seven females and five males, instructions today. A verdict is expected to be reached soon.