One of two men found guilty of the murders of two USC graduate students from China was sentenced Monday to life in prison without the possibility of parole at a hearing where the judge described the case as one of the saddest he had presided over.
Javier Bolden, 22, was found guilty last month in the deaths of Ming Qu and Ying Wu, who were gunned down while parked outside a home near USC.
The April 2012 killings of the graduate engineering students, who were both 23, drew worldwide attention to the campus, which has a high proportion of international students.
The university instituted a variety of security changes in response to this and other violent incidents in recent years, including the July killing of another graduate student from China, Xinran Ji.
In the 2012 deaths or Qu and Yu, Los Angeles police described the bloody attack as a botched robbery.
Bolden bragged about the killings to a jail-cell police informant in a conversation captured on video, according to court testimony.
Bryan Barnes, 21, was also charged in the case. He pleaded guilty to the two murders and was sentenced in February to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Barnes admitted he was the shooter, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
At Monday’s hearing in downtown Los Angeles, Superior Court Judge Stephen A. Marcus said he was appalled by a Los Angeles Times photograph that showed Bolden smiling at the hearing at which a jury convicted him.
“You have absolutely no remorse for your actions,” Marcus said. “This attitude is captured in the photograph.”
Marcus told Bolden he should be hanging his head in shame rather than smiling, the Times reported.
“This crime has stained the reputation of Los Angeles,” Marcus said, according to the Times.
Through a translator, Qu’s father asked the judge to demand an apology from Bolden.
“Our two outstanding children are now gone, but vile monsters who took their lives are still alive today,” said the translator, speaking for Qu’s father. “This judgment is quite unfair to our children and is of little comfort to their souls in heaven.”
Bolden received three consecutive terms of life in prison without parole, as well as an additional 22 years, the DA’s office announced. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty.
Bolden had earlier been found guilty of attempted murder and assault with a semiautomatic firearm in a shooting at a party that occurred about two months before the USC slayings.