By ROB PREECE
PUBLISHED: 05:35 EST, 24 May 2012 | UPDATED: 05:55 EST, 24 May 2012
- Javier Bolden, 19, and Bryan Barnes, 20, are charged with murder
- Students Ming Qu and Ying Wu shot dead in their BMW last month
- Qu and Wu were graduate students from China studying engineering
Smiling as they pose for Facebook photographs, these two men have charged with murdering two Chinese students.
Pictures of Bryan Barnes, 20, and Javier Bolden, 19, emerged as they appeared in court accused of killing electrical engineering students Ming Qu and Ying Wu, both 23.
The second-year graduate students were allegedly gunned down during a botched robbery near the University of Southern California campus last month.
Smiling: Bryan Barnes, 20, and Javier Bolden, 19, have been charged with the murder of two Chinese students
Barnes and Bolden, who are also charged with the attempted murder of another man, could face the death penalty if convicted.
Photographs posted on Facebook show Bolden and Barnes dancing and showing off their tattoos and muscles.
The pair, who were arrested last Friday, are said to have been members of a ‘party crew’ called No RespectInc.
Party crews organize underground parties and raves, and No Respect was implicated in a FOX 11 investigation into nitrous oxide-dealing groups, the LA Weekly reported.
Salute: The two men appeared in court accused of killing electrical engineering students Ming Qu and Ying Wu
Pictures from the crew’s Facebook page show large groups of people gesturing for the camera.
Messages posted on its Facebook wall frequently contain swearing and the crew claims to be fluent in ‘Profanity in American Sign Language’.
Barnes and Bolden made a brief court appearance in Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles, but their arraignment was postponed until June 25.
Sources from the court said the defendants’ lawyer argued that he had no time to go over all the information.
Tragic: USC students Ming Qu, 23, left, and Ying Wu, 23, right, were killed in a suspected botched robbery
Deputy District Attorney Deborah Brazil with the major crimes division is prosecuting the case, according to a statement from the district attorney’s office.
Barnes and Bolden, both from Los Angeles, are charged with the April 11 murder of the students – a crime which sent shockwaves through the university community.
The men wore street clothes and answered, ‘Yes sir,’ when Superior Court Judge Upinder Kalra asked if they understood the charges against them.
Their cases were assigned to the public defender’s office.
Accused: Murder suspect Bryan Barnes shows off his tattoos in a Facebook photograph
The two men also were charged with attempted murder in unrelated shootings of three people at parties in South Los Angeles a few months earlier.
Authorities believe the killings occurred during a robbery, leading to special circumstance allegations that make Barnes and Bolden eligible for the death penalty if convicted. The judge noted these were capital crimes in denying bail.
The district attorney’s office will decide later whether to seek the death penalty.
Police said shell casings tied the suspects to the shooting of the Chinese students and the other attacks.
Gesturing: Barnes and Bolden are said to have been members of a ‘party crew’ called No RespectInc
Group: Messages posted on the party crew’s Facebook wall frequently contain swearing
In addition to the killing of the students, Barnes and Bolden were charged with the attempted murder of a 20-year-old man who was shot and wounded at a party on December 3.
Barnes also was charged with one count each of attempted murder and assault with a semiautomatic firearm at another party on February 12.
Barnes was arrested at a home near campus last Friday afternoon, and Bolden was arrested a few hours later in Palmdale. Both are being held without bail.
Ming Qu, of Jilin, and Ying Wu, of Hunan, were shot April 11 while sitting in a BMW about a mile away from the USC campus. Both students were 23 years old.
Evidence: The smashed window of the BMW car in which the students were allegedly shot
USC has the largest number of international students of any U.S. university.
Roughly 19 percent of its 38,000 students are from overseas, including 2,500 from China.
After the shooting, Wu was found in the BMW’s passenger seat and Qu was on the steps of a nearby house where he collapsed while trying to summon help, police said.
On Friday, USC’s president C L Max Nikias released a statement, thanking the city’s mayor and police force behind the arrests.
‘The arrest of the suspects in the tragic deaths of our graduate students, Ying Wu and Ming Qu, begins the process of healing and of closing a painful chapter in the life of our community,’ Mr Nikias wrote.
‘We will always mourn the loss of Ying and Ming, but find comfort in the hope of achieving justice.’
Blown out: Ying Wu was found slumped over in her seat, and Qu tried to get out for help
USC’s campus is located in an urban centre a few miles south of downtown Los Angeles.
It is across the street from county museums and not far from the Staples Center arena and a gentrifying area of Victorian homes. Yet it is also known as an area that had faced high crime and gang activity.
The victims’ parents filed a lawsuit last week alleging the university made false claims about safety in the ‘frequently asked questions’ section of its online application.
The 15-page lawsuit accuses USC of hiding behind the word ‘urban’ and not saying the school is in a high-crime residential area.
Prestigious: About 19 per cent of USC’s international student population are foreign nationals
USC lawyer Debra Wong Yang said the university was deeply saddened by the deaths but found the lawsuit to be baseless.
The school and city police announced new security measures after the slayings and promised more video cameras, escorts and patrols.
The additional security will include sending over 30 more officers to the department division that handles the USC area, and the university will pay for four additional officers to patrol the student residential neighborhoods.
Mourning: More than 400 Chinese students took part in a memorial service on campus for the victims
Rebecca Peterson lights candles at an impromptu memorial on campus for the two international students