Brendt Christensen

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

The father of a slain scholar who begged his daughter's killer to reveal what he did with her remains so that they could be returned to China for burial says his family now understands that recovering them may be impossible. 

Killer Of Yingying Zhang Sentenced To Life In Prison

Jul 19, 2019
Tanya Koonce / Illinois Public Media

The man convicted of murdering University of Illinois visiting scholar Yingying Zhang will spend the rest of his life in federal prison “without release”. That was the sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Jim Shadid Thursday, after a jury spent about nine hours deliberating before determining they could not reach a unanimous verdict on the death penalty for Brendt Christensen.

Macon County Jail

A former University of Illinois doctoral student is facing life in prison in the abduction, rape and killing of a scholar from China after a federal jury failed to agree on a death sentence.

Macon County Jail

The jury is deliberating on the question of sentencing for the man convicted of the 2017 kidnapping and murder of University of Illinois visiting scholar Yingying Zhang. Jurors received Brendt Christensen’s capital case about 1:40 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

Tanya Koonce / Illinois Public Media

The sentencing phase of Brendt Christensen’s federal death penalty trial will go to the jury Wednesday. There’s only one question the jury at the federal courthouse in Peoria needs to answer, and that’s whether Christensen will receive the death penalty or life in prison, for the 2017 kidnapping murder of University of Illinois visiting scholar Yingying Zhang.

Tanya Koonce / Illinois Public Media

Brendt Christensen’s mother and sister say they still love him, even after learning he kidnapped and murdered U of I visiting scholar Yingying Zhang in 2017. Both family members testified Monday in the sentencing phase of Christensen’s federal trial in Peoria.

Tanya Koonce / Illinois Public Media

The sentencing phase of the Brendt Christensen trial enters its fifth day Friday. Federal public defenders called eight witnesses Thursday in their effort to save him from the death penalty.

Tanya Koonce / Illinois Public Media

The penalty phase of the trial of the man convicted of kidnapping and killing a University of Illinois visiting scholar is underway.

Prosecutors began making their case Monday that Brendt Christensen should be put to death for causing the death of Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang.

University of Illinois Police

A federal judge will allow jurors at the sentencing hearing of a former University of Illinois doctoral student to watch videos made by the mother and friends of the Chinese scholar he was convicted of kidnapping, torturing and killing.

University of Illinois Police

A federal jury that convicted a former University of Illinois doctoral student of kidnapping, torturing and killing a young scholar from China now must decide if Brendt Christensen should be put to death.

Lawyers for a former University of Illinois doctoral student convicted of killing a scholar from China says he offered after his arrest to divulge where her remains are in exchange for a life sentence.

Macon County Jail

Jurors have convicted a former University of Illinois doctoral student in the slaying of a visiting scholar from China who was abducted at a bus stop as she headed to sign an off-campus apartment lease.

Macon County Jail

PEORIA -- A federal prosecutor has shared with jurors grisly details of how they claim a former University of Illinois doctoral student kidnapped a visiting scholar from China, then brutally beat and killed her.

Macon County Jail

PEORIA -- A jury has been selected in the trial of a former graduate student accused of kidnapping and killing a University of Illinois scholar from China.

A lawyer for a Chinese family attending the trial of an ex-University of Illinois student charged with killing their daughter says he’s explaining to them how the American justice system works.

The trial is set to begin in Peoria for a former University of Illinois graduate student accused of kidnapping and killing a visiting scholar from China.

    

URBANA - The parents of a visiting University of Illinois scholar who disappeared two years ago have arrived in Illinois from China for the murder trial of the man accused of abducting and killing her.

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PEORIA - Attorneys for a man accused of kidnapping and killing a University of Illinois scholar from China say they could be ready for a trial to begin July 1.

  URBANA, Ill. - A federal judge has denied a request to exclude evidence about a cadaver-sniffing dog from the trial of a former University of Illinois physics student accused of killing a Chinese scholar in 2017.

PEORIA - Lawyers for the man charged with kidnapping and killing a Chinese University of Illinois scholar have argued the case should be heard in state court, where the death penalty isn't an option.

URBANA - A federal judge has moved the trial of a man charged in the 2017 slaying of a University of Illinois scholar from China from Urbana to Peoria.

Attorneys for a man accused of killing a University of Illinois scholar from China are asking a judge to dismiss a main charge against him and change the location of his trial.

University of Illinois Police

The family of Yingying Zhang is hoping that 2018 will be the year they get answers about her disappearance. That’s when Brendt Christensen, the man accused of kidnapping and causing the death of the young visiting scholar from China, is to go on trial. 

Judge Denies Delay In Yingying Zhang Trial Date

Nov 16, 2017
Macon County Jail

The trial for the man accused of kidnapping University of Illinois visiting scholar Yingying Zhang will go on as scheduled.

Defense attorneys for a man accused of killing a University of Illinois scholar from China say they need more time to prepare their case.

URBANA, Ill. (AP) - A federal judge in central Illinois must decide in coming days whether to grant a defense motion to delay the trial of a 28-year-old man accused of killing a University of Illinois scholar from China. 

Jim Meadows / Illinois Public Radio

 

A public defender entered a “not guilty” plea Wed. for Brendt Christensen, the 28-year-old man accused of kidnapping and killing Yingying Zhang. 

A man accused in the abduction and killing of a University of Illinois scholar from China is to be arraigned on new charges.

University of Illinois Police

A federal grand jury now accuses the alleged kidnapper of Yingying Zhang of murdering her as well.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, a new indictment returned by the grand jury on Tuesday accuses 28-year-old Brendt A. Christensen of the kidnapping resulting in the death of Zhang on June 9th. That’s the day the 26-year-old visiting Chinese scholar at the University of Illinois Urbana campus was last seen. The FBI has said they assume Zhang is dead, but her body has yet to be found. 

Defense Lawyers Seek to Leave Zhang Murder Case

Sep 5, 2017

Lawyers for Brendt Christensen, the 27-year-old man accused of kidnapping Yingying Zhang, are asking a judge’s permission to withdraw from the case.

Attorneys Thomas, Evan and Anthony Bruno have been representing Christensen, who’s accused of kidnapping U of I visiting scholar Yingying Zhang.

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