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Suspects plead not guilty in slayings of USC students

USC graduate students from China and friends of murder victims Ming Qu and Ying Wu gathered outside Los Angeles Superior Court in downtown Los Angeles following the arraignment for suspects Javier Bolden and Bryan Barnes.

The two men charged with the slayings of two USC graduate students pleaded not guilty Wednesday to all charges.

Attorneys for Javier Bolden, 19, and Bryan Barnes, 20, told the judge they needed more time to review the case and were concerned with the amount of LAPD "leaks" already reported to the public. Bolden and Barnes were arrested in May and charged with first-degree murder in the killing of two electrical engineering students from China -- Ming Qu and Ying Wu, both 23.

"We just received thousands and thousands of pages of discovery that we still need to review," said defense attorney Andrew Goldman. "Most of what we've learned about the case is what we've read in the news."

More than a dozen students from China, as well as family and friends of Bolden and Barnes, packed the courtroom. Students shifted uncomfortably in their seats when they saw Barnes lock eyes and smile to his friends.

Police investigators said they believe Bolden and Barnes came across the pair talking in a parked BMW on April 11 and decided to rob them. At some point, police said, Barnes opened fire, killing them.
The shooting caused reverberations throughout USC, where students and faculty held a memorial for the victims. USC students from China launched a "Protect Our Safety" campaign, and Qu's and Wu's parents filed a lawsuit against the school, claiming officials gave out inaccurate information about safety around the campus.

Bolden and Barnes also face one count each of attempted murder in a separate incident last year, according to the L.A. County district attorney's office, and Bolden is charged with an additional count of attempted murder and one count of assault stemming from a February incident.

Their next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 20.


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Photo: USC graduate students from China and friends of Ming Qu and Ying Wu gather outside Los Angeles Superior Court in downtown Los Angeles following the arraignment for murder suspects Javier Bolden and Bryan Barnes. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

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