Bryan Barnes, 20, and Javier Bolden, 19, have been charged with capital murder in the shooting deaths of 23-year old Ming Qu and Ying Wu, both electrical engineering graduate students from China.
It's believed that Bolden was present at the time of the murders.
The grad students were shot to death while sitting in Qu's parked BMW in the 2700 block of Raymond Avenue, about one mile from campus.
Authorities believe the killings occurred during a robbery, leading to special circumstance allegations that make Barnes and Bolden eligible for the death penalty if convicted.
Both men were ordered to return to court Sept. 20 for a hearing to determine a date for a preliminary hearing.
They are being held without bail.
In a separate incident, Barnes and Bolden are also charged with one count each of attempted murder for allegedly shooting a 20-year-old man during a Dec. 3, 2011 party in South Los Angeles.
In addition, Barnes is charged with one count each of attempted murder and assault with a semiautomatic firearm at another part on Feb. 12
He's accused of firing numerous rounds, striking and severely injuring a male and also injuring a female, both in their 20s.
Police said shell casings tied the suspects to the shooting of the students and the other attacks.
The Los Angeles Times reported that both suspects were linked to a "party crew" called" No Respect Inc." that followed a local DJ to parties and other events around South L.A.
Facebook photos show them dancing shirtless, showing off their tattoos and muscles and striking poses with young women, the Times said.
Meantime, USC lawyers are asking a judge to toss out a lawsuit filed against the school by the slain students' parents.
"The murders were random, unpredictable and unconnected to USC," the university said in court papers filed on Monday.
"Nonetheless, the parents ... seek to hold USC civilly liable for the perpetrators' criminal acts by bringing this wrongful death suit."
The parents' suit claims that the school misled the students' parents when it claimed that it's one of the safest in the nation.
It states that USC "actively solicits" international students, particularly from China, for its graduate programs.
The university "receives a substantial sum of money from tuition to help fund the university," according to the suit.
It also says that USC's website calls the school "among the safest of U.S. universities and colleges, with one of the most comprehensive, proactive campus and community safety programs in the nation."
But, the suit states, USC does not provide patrols in the area where the Qu and Wu were killed.
The university calls the suit "nothing more than an attempt to try to hold USC financially responsible for damages inflicted on its students by the criminal behavior of third parties unrelated to USC."
It argues that the parents have not shown how the school's claims about safety are misleading.
"The students attended USC for well over a year before they were killed off campus by two criminals who had no connection to USC," the university's court papers state.
"And plaintiffs make no attempt to explain how the alleged misrepresentations ... could have caused the students' deaths."
USC did make efforts to step up security in the weeks following the shooting.
The university and the LAPD announced several new security measures, including the addition of 30 police officers to the area surrounding the campus.
The measures also include sharing crime data with USC public safety officials, installing more security cameras and adding a city prosecutor who will focus on cases in and around the campus.