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Parents of slain USC students: 'Our dreams will never come back'

Parents of slain USC students: 'Our dreams will never come back'
Xiyong Wu, left, tries to comfort his wife Meinan Yin, right, following a news conference in Rosemead. Their daughter, Ying Wu, was one of two USC students killed in April 2012. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

The parents of two USC graduate students from China called on the university to pay restitution and help their families set up a scholarship in the victims' names.

They addressed the media Thursday, a day after their children's killer was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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Bryan Barnes, 21, pleaded guilty Wednesday to shooting 23-year-old engineering students Ying Wu and Ming Qu as they sat in a parked BMW about a mile west from campus. Barnes' co-defendant, 21-year-old Javier Bolden, is still awaiting trial.

Xiyong Wu, a police officer from China, and Wanzhi Qu, an insurance salesman, flew in from China to speak at the hearing and repeatedly demanded the death penalty. But by Thursday, the families had begun to accept the results of the trial, said their volunteer legal advisor Daniel Deng.

"They are delighted that a killer was captured and convicted. They are disappointed by the law," Deng said.

The families have asked USC to refund $200,000 total in tuition that both students paid to attend the university. They also asked for the $200,000 in rewards that USC and city officials offered in exchange for information during the investigation last year. Deng says they will use the money both as restitution and seed money for scholarships helping Chinese students to pay for high school tuition in China.

Addressing a conference room at Deng's offices, Wanzhi Qu read from a prepared statement in an unwavering voice. His notes shook visibly in his hands.

"Fathers always wish for the best for their children. But our children will never return. Our dreams will never be come back," Wanzhi Qu said in Chinese.

Qu also thanked the Chinese community in Los Angeles for supporting their cause and following their case. The slayings sent shock waves through the Southland's Chinese community. And initial reports of the murder cast blame on the students for flaunting their wealth, stoking further outrage.

The case has drawn unwavering attention from China-based news sources, many of which have covered each twist and turn of the trial. At one point during the news conference, a television reporter asked Qu's mother, Meinan Yin, a question, and she broke down. They hugged each other and wiped each others' tears away.

"We are in pain, but we are grateful for your support," said Xiyong Wu.

Deng said the families are just looking for closure. They do not intend to pursue civil action if USC does not give them the money, though they have not ruled it out, he added.

"I think they just want to find a good end to this terrible chapter in their life and move on," Deng said.

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