US man convicted of murder of two Chinese students in California

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - A US man was convicted on Monday of first degree murder over the killings of two Chinese students during a botched robbery at a college in California.

Javier Bolden, 22, faces up to life in jail for killing Ying Wu and Ming Qu, shot dead while sitting in a car near the downtown Los Angeles campus of the University of Southern California (USC) on April 11, 2012.

A co-defendant, Bryan Barnes, already pleaded guilty in February and was jailed for life without the possibility of parole.

Prosecutor Dan Akemon said the 23-year-old graduate students were "helpless victims" inside a parked BMW, and that Bolden and Barnes were "counting down the seconds of the lives of these victims" as they approached the car.

"In the end, what we have here is we have a very compelling case of guilt against Mr Bolden," said the prosecutor, adding: "This is a mountain of evidence."

Barnes and Bolden were arrested in May 2012 after being traced by the dead students' stolen cell phones. The victims' parents spoke of their desolation at the February hearing for 21-year-old Barnes.

Xiyong Wu said his daughter had come to America with a dream, and planned to return to China after graduating.

"Every life deserves respect, and he has no right to take away my daughter's life," he said through an interpreter. "My daughter is gone, so is my hope."

Wanzhi Qu said his son "came with beautiful dreams but died tragically."

"After my son passed away, my wife and I always wake up crying at night. In our dreams, our beloved son is covered in blood, crying out to us, 'Dad, I am so cold. I suffered a horrible death for absolutely no reason!" Qu added.

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