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Suspects plead not guilty to killings of Chinese students in U.S.

(Xinhua)

08:02, July 19, 2012

LOS ANGELES, July 18 (Xinhua) -- Two suspects in the killings of two Chinese students studying at the University of Southern California (USC) pleaded not guilty to murder charges Wednesday.

The two men, Bryan Barnes, 20, and Javier Bolden, 19, both from Los Angeles, were arraigned around 9:30 a.m. local time Wednesday morning in Los Angeles County Superior Court, where members from China's Consulate General and more than 20 USC students were attending the hearing.

Barnes and Bolden were accused of the April 11 killings of Qu Ming and Wu Ying, both 23-year-old USC students majoring electrical engineering. They were ordered to return to court on Sept. 20 for a hearing when a date for a preliminary hearing will be set.

A judge will determine at the preliminary hearing, where the Los Angeles police will attend to give their evidence of the case, whether there is enough evidence to require the suspects to stand trial.

The defendants' lawyer argued again that he has not been able to review all information but the judge rejected the lawyer's appeal to make another postponement.

Barnes and Boldento were ordered to remain jailed without bail. During the hearing, the judge had ordered them to stop talking to each other in the courtroom holding area.

In response to the court's decision, Yu Xiong, who is in charge of overseas Chinese affairs at China's Consulate General in Los Angeles told Xinhua that the Consulate hopes that the suspects be put on trial as soon as possible and the murderers be brought to justice to assure the victims and their families.

The shooting caused worries and rage in USC and other universities in southern California, where students from China launched a "Protect Our Safety" campaign. Over 7,000 people have signed their names via the Internet to give their support to the victims and their families, as well as to call for school safety.

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