Monday, September 30, 2013

Bryan Barnes & Javier Bolden Prelim - USC Chinese Grad Student Murders (Ming Qu and Ying Wu)

September 30th 2013
The preliminary hearing for Bryan Barnes and Javier Bolden is expected to start today in Dept. 102, Judge Marcus' courtroom, in the downtown Criminal Justice Center.  DDA Daniel Akemon and DDA Deborah Brazil are representing the people. Barnes and Bolden are charged with 187 felony murder in the deaths of two Chinese graduate students, Ming Qu and Ying Wu, both 23. The shootings occurred in the early morning hours of April 11th, 2013 about a mile from the USC campus.

During the last hearing, I was able to use my laptop in Judge Marcus' courtroom. I hope that will be the same today. It's my understanding the preliminary hearing is expected to last two days.  Court will end at 3:15 PM today since one of the defense attorneys has a commitment at 4:00 PM.

This FOX news story from May 18th, 2012 has images of the two students who were murdered that were shown at a memorial service in the Shrine Auditorium.

UPDATE 10/1:
This is a brief synopsis until I can get my detailed notes transcribed. Sprocket. 

Four witness were called yesterday.  Initially, the court was going to start with a witness who needed a Spanish interpreter, but the court's language interpreter department inadvertently scheduled someone who no longer works for the court. That witness was put on hold, and the first witness called was Detective Vincent Carreon, an officer with the LAPD for over 25 years.   Carreon is a detective with the LAPD's 77th Station. (This is Sal LaBarbera's unit.)

Carreon arrived at the scene around 3:30 AM.  By that time, the victims had already been removed by emergency services personnel. He was briefed by officers at the scene who informed him that a male and female had been shot, Ying Wu, and Ming Qu. Carreon testifies about the neighborhood, where the vehicle was found, and introduces several evidence photos.  He testifies that two shell casings were recovered.

The next witness that was called was Eury Maldonado. (At the lunch break, DDA Brazil informs the press that there is a discrepancy in how the interpreter spelled the witnesses last name. She indicates  "Maldanado." is how it appears on the driver's license. Sprocket.)  Maldonado was driving home from work some time between 12:30 AM and 1 AM.  He drove past the double parked BMW, did not see available parking ahead of him, which was closer to his home. He went back, passing the BMW again and found a spot.  He entered his upstairs apartment and was on his computer watching videos when he heard what he thought was a gunshot.  About 20 to 30 seconds later, another gunshot and what sounded like breaking glass.  He stepped out onto his balcony and saw two individuals, one on each side of the car.  It sounded like arguing. He then observed the individuals run south, away from the vehicle.

Maldonado saw the driver of the BMW get out of the vehicle. He could see that the individual was bleeding. He called 911.  He then went downstairs to give assistance to the man. The man headed towards 2717 S. Raymond. He fell at the sidewalk and crawled toward the residence. He made it to the front door. He pounded on the front door so hard he broke the glass in the front door.  The injured man tried to speak, but because of his injuries he could not.

Detective Carreon retook the stand to continue his testimony. He presented the work of an LAPD criminalist who compared the bullet casings and found a match with casings recovered from two other incidents.  Carreon also presented the work of the coroner's who performed the autopsies on the two victims.

After lunch, the people attempt to call Latiana Collins, a former girlfriend of Barnes. The defense object that she could be charged as a co-conspirator.  Quite a bit of time is taken up dealing with this issue. Judge Marcus takes the time to read the first 18-20 pages of her taped recorded interview with detectives and agrees. Collins decides she would like an attorney and the court takes the steps to provide one for her. The prosecution states they will offer her immunity to testify.

The next witness is LAPD Detective Robert Lait, who is currently assigned to a gang unit.  He obtained a wire tap. He was involved in the investigation. He visited the crime scene. He wrote the warrants to obtain wire taps on Barnes and Bolden's cell phones.

After his testimony, Latiana Collins took the stand for about ten minutes.

Continued in Day 1, Part II....

Mainstream Media Stories on Barnes & Bolden Case
04/11/12 NBC Two Grad Students Shot Dead

04/11/12 LAT Slaying of Two Grad Students Stuns USC
05/02/12 LAT Arrests Made in Grad Student's Deaths 
05/19/12 LAT Two Held in Grad Student Slayings
05/22/12 LA Weekly Barnes & Bolden Possibly Catch Death Penalty
05/22/12 LAT Slaying Suspects Portrayed Themselves as Party Boys
02/15/13 LAT Lawsuit Against USC Dismissed

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