Chinese community still angry after double-murder conviction
Updated: 2014-10-30 06:39
By CINDY LIU in Los Angeles(China Daily USA)
An April 13, 2012, file combo released by the Los Angeles Police Department shows shooting victims Qu Ming (left) and Wu Ying. The 23 year old engineering students were shot on April 11, 2012, while sitting in a parked car in a neighborhood near the campus. PHOTO BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
Javier Bolden reacts as he is convicted of murder in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday. Bolden was convicted of two counts of first degree murder for the killings of a pair of USC graduate students from China, during a robbery on April 11, 2012, in Los Angeles. PHOTO BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
Qu Ming and Wu Ying, both 23 and engineering graduate students at the University of Southern California (USC), were shot to death ambush-style during a robbery April 11, 2012, in Los Angeles.
Javier Bolden, 22, faces a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for the killings of the couple as they sat in a parked BMW on a street near the USC campus in the 2700 block of Raymond Avenue.
Bolden's accomplice in the crimes, Bryan Barnes, 21, pleaded guilty in February to first-degree murder. The plea allowed him to avoid California's death penalty. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
He Konghua, chairwoman of the Greater China Woman's Association, a board member of the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese, said the sentence does not fit the crimes.
"He has killed two innocent Chinese students for no reason," said He. "He is a killer of two young lives. How could the court only give him life in prison and let him live on taxpayers' money? I'm afraid the same kind of tragedy will happen again without reasonable law enforcement in this case."
Yang Dongying, executive chairman of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, said: "I respect the jurisdiction, and I understand the first-degree murder penalties vary in states. However, I believe it is hard for most Chinese people to emotionally accept it. Chinese people believe a murderer should face a penalty of death.
"The victims' families have been waiting for over two years," Yang said. "It has been too long for those who lost their children forever. And the murderer is still alive. It hurts the families so much."
Deng Hong, the attorney for the victims' families, said the consistent pressure and support of the Chinese community in California helped bring the case to justice.
Another Chinese student surnamed Yuan, who translated for the parents of Wu Ying and Qu Ming in court in March, said he "can't imagine how sad the victims' families and friends would feel when they hear the sentence".
The couple planned to get married after graduation.
Yuan said the parents of Wu and Qu would have expected to meet each other at their children's wedding, not in court and at a funeral. "I had tears in my eyes when I translated this sentence," Yuan said.
Yuan said the parents raised their children to be hardworking and sent them overseas for a higher education.
At USC, close to 50 percent of Chinese students are enrolled in the Viterbi School of Engineering, where the victims were students. Ji Xinran, another Chinese student who was assaulted and beaten to death on his way home from a group study on July 24 this year, also attended the school.
CSSA said it was a coincidence that both cases affected the same school in two years. However, "the safety issue is our top concern," said Yang. "We can't afford this to happen again."
Dong Xudong, president of the Hebei Association in San Francisco, emphasized the need to be aware of one's surroundings.
"Chinese students need to remember that prevention is the best strategy for self-protection," he said, adding the young men and women should always keep vigilant about street crimes, robbery, burglary and theft.