Two men accused of fatally shooting two USC graduate students from China last year are slated to be arraigned Thursday on murder charges.
Bryan Barnes, 21, and Javier Bolden, 20, are accused of fatally shooting Ying Wu and Ming Qu, both 23, while they were sitting in a parked BMW.
Though investigators initially struggled to find a motive, the students' stolen iPhones led them to Barnes and Bolden.
Prosecutors say Barnes sold one phone to a store. The other phone was recovered at the residence where he was arrested, they said.
During a preliminary hearing in the case, prosecutors revealed that GPS data were used to track Wu's phone, and that that information pointed to Barnes.
After getting a court order to listen in on Barnes' telephone calls, authorities heard one in which he talked to Bolden and appeared to acknowledge their involvement in the crime, prosecutors said.
The call was played in court and at one point Barnes described an incident in which he and Bolden "ran up on them little Asian people," and alluded to shooting the phone's owner.
Barnes' former girlfriend also told the court that he later admitted to her that he "might've shot somebody" in the process of stealing the phone.
Using shell casings recovered at the scene, investigators also connected Barnes and Bolden to an earlier shooting in which one victim was shot eight times, officials said. Bolden was also tied to a shooting in which two people were wounded, they said.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Stephen A. Marcus ordered them to stand trial in connection with those shootings as well.