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Wed Jun 12, 2019, 11:02 PM

Defense in trial of China scholar's brutal death: He did it

Source: Associated Press

Michael Tarm, Ap Legal Affairs Writer Updated 9:21 pm CDT, Wednesday, June 12, 2019

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) A federal prosecutor on Wednesday told jurors in grisly detail that authorities believe a former University of Illinois doctoral student kidnapped a visiting scholar from China, and beat her to death with a baseball bat. Defense attorneys intent on sparing their client a possible death penalty then offered an exceptional response: He did it.

Opening statements began in the death-penalty trial of Brendt Christensen, a case which is being closely watched in China and by Chinese students across the U.S. Christensen is accused of posing as an undercover officer to lure 26-year-old Yingying Zhang into his car on June 9, 2017, as she headed to sign a lease off campus.



FILE- In this Nov. 1, 2017 file photo, Ronggao Zhang, left, and Lifeng Ye, display a photo them with their missing daughter, Yingying Zhang, in Urbana, Ill. Almost two years after their daughter disappeared from the University of Illinois campus, the parents of visiting Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang are back in Champaign-Urbana for the trial of her accused killer. Former Illinois student Brendt Christensen is charged with Zheng, whose body hasn't been found. He pleaded not guilty and his trial is set to begin Monday, June 3, 2019. .



File-This Oct. 11, 2018, file photo shows guests mingling after a ceremony to dedicate the memorial garden for Yingying Zhang, Chinese scholar who disappeared from campus in June 2017. A judge at the trial of a former University of Illinois student charged with killing a visiting Chinese scholar says lawyers should be ready to deliver opening statements by the middle of next week. Thursday, June 6, 2019, is the fourth day of jury selection at Brendt Christensen's trial in Peoria. (Rick Danzl/The News-Gazette via AP)

Christensen, who is over 6-foot, took Zhang to his apartment where he raped, choked and stabbed her in his bedroom, as the 5-foot-4 Zhang tried to fight him off, prosecutor Eugene Miller said in his opening statement to jurors Wednesday. Christensen then dragged Zhang into his bathroom, and pummeled her in the head with the bat before decapitating her, Miller said.

Read more: https://www.chron.com/news/education/article/Defense-in-trial-of-Chinese-scholar-s-death-He-13973030.php#photo-17594099









Yingying Zhang

Rest in Peace.

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Reply Defense in trial of China scholar's brutal death: He did it (Original post)
Judi Lynn Jun 12 OP
Duppers Jun 13 #1
Judi Lynn Jun 13 #2

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Thu Jun 13, 2019, 03:27 PM

1. Monster!

Makes you wonder why he chose her, was it because of his right-wing xenophobia?

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Thu Jun 13, 2019, 11:24 PM

2. Admitting guilt at trial may help ex-student avoid execution

Admitting guilt at trial may help ex-student avoid execution
Michael Tarm, Ap Legal Affairs Writer Updated 6:15 pm CDT, Thursday, June 13, 2019

CHICAGO (AP) Lawyers for a former University of Illinois doctoral student accused of kidnapping, torturing and killing a visiting scholar from China spent nearly two years preparing for the day they would address jurors for the first time at trial.

After all that, it took less than a minute for one of the defense attorneys to walk to a podium this week and acknowledge to the jury that their client, Brendt Christensen, did in fact carry out the slaying of 26-year-old Yingying Zhang.

The admission during opening statements of the federal death-penalty trial Wednesday seemed to startle some jurors who minutes earlier had listened to a prosecutor allege that Christensen abducted Zhang off campus and raped, stabbed, choked and beat her with a baseball bat before decapitating her at his Urbana, Illinois, apartment.

. . .

Among the possible reasons he didn't declare his innocence is that Christensen, now 29, wanted it known that he had chosen a victim at random and killed her. According to prosecutors, Christensen told his girlfriend weeks earlier he aspired to become infamous by killing someone. Denying he killed Zhang would have defeated that goal.

More:
https://www.chron.com/news/education/article/Admitting-guilt-at-trial-may-help-ex-student-13991010.php#photo-17594099

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