Javier Bolden sentenced in USC murders

Javier Bolden was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole Monday for his role in the April 11, 2012, murders of Ming Qu and Ying Wu, 23-year-old graduate engineering students who were shot while sitting in a parked car near the University Park campus.

Last month, a jury convicted Bolden of first-degree murder.

In a victim impact statement before the sentencing, Ming Qu’s father, Wanzhi Qu, speaking via a translator, called Bolden and Bryan Barnes, his accomplice in the killings, “evil specimens” and “human trash.”

During sentencing, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephen A. Marcus called the case one of the saddest he’s presided over and criticized Bolden, 22, for his lack of remorse throughout the trial. He said Bolden was smiling when the jury verdict was read and smiled again during the victim impact statement.

“Your actions are cowardly and shameful,” Marcus said. “There are no words to express the loss suffered by the parents and friends of Ming Qu and Ying Wu. They were innocent victims of this urban violence set in motion by Mr. Bolden.”

Bolden was the second to be convicted in the shooting. In February, Barnes pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Bolden’s family did not speak to the press. When exiting the courtroom, his mother told the media to “get the f–k out of here.”

In a statement to the press after sentencing, Wanzhi Qu said via translator that his family and the family of Ying Wu suffered a great deal both mentally and physically as a result of their children’s deaths.

“Both of our families have spent our lives supporting our kids so they could continue their education in America,” Qu said. “This tragedy caused all our hope to vanish into thin air along with the lives of our children.”

Bolden was also convicted of attempted murder and assault with a firearm in a separate shooting, which occurred in February 2012 at a South Los Angeles banquet hall. He was sentenced to a consecutive term of life in prison for the attempted murder with an additional nine years for the assault. Bolden’s lawyer has already filed a motion to appeal.

Following the deaths of Qu and Wu and a separate shooting that occurred on Halloween in 2013, USC administrators instituted new security measures, including the stipulation that students entering campus between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. are required to show their student ID at eight of the 27 entrances that remain open. The university also added new security and license plate recognition cameras and hired additional security personnel to monitor the gates during the restricted hours. These personnel also provide 24-hour security in the on-campus residential halls where students are required to scan their fingerprint to gain entry to the building.

On Monday, the Dept. of Public Safety also launched the mobile safety application LiveSafe, which will allow students to report emergencies or send tips about safety hazards.

Friends of Qu and Wu hope to raise money for the victims’ families.

“They’ve spent a lot of money flying between USC and China, so we want to try our best to raise some money for them,” said Xu Yuan, president of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association.

A separate restitution hearing for Bolden is scheduled for Feb. 19, 2015.