Former University of Illinois doctoral student gets life in prison in the slaying of a visiting Chinese scholar,

Brendt Christensen, will serve life in prison for the death of Yingying, Zhang. Prosecutors say Christensen was raped, choked and stabbed Before her, to beat to death with a bludgeon, and decapitate her. Film has never been revealed what he did Before remains. FILE

After a federal jury said on Thursday that its members had failed to agree on the death penalty, a former University of Illinois doctoral candidate, drew a life sentence for the rape and murder of a 26-year-old scholar from China, he was kidnapped from a bus stop in the vicinity of the campus in 2017.

The members of the jury returned their decision against the defendant, Brendt Christensen, 30, on the second day of the proceedings. The same jury took less than 90 minutes away, to condemn the Film last month in the killing of the scientist, Yingying Zhang.

Prosecutors, and Zhang’s family had pushed for the death penalty, but the jury decides to vote. If even one member of the jury was, in fact, a life sentence would be enforced.

Illinois has abolished the death penalty in 2011, but the Film was prosecuted under federal law. If he has been convicted and sentenced to death for his crime, he would have carried out in the neighbouring town of Indiana.

Prosecutors say Christensen was raped, choked and stabbed Before her, to beat to death with a bludgeon, and decapitate her. Film has never been revealed what he did Before remains. Her family, who traveled from China to Peoria, Ill., for the experiment, we hoped that he would be able to explain to the court that he would have left her, but the Film’s attorneys didn’t call him to testify.


In the company of those who are called to testify, was Zhang’s father, Lifeng Ye. She told the jury how the family were devastated by the loss of her daughter, who had aspired to be a teacher to help her working-class family, financially.

“How am I supposed to do in life?” Lifeng Ye have said in the video testimony. “I really don’t know how to implement it.”

She said the Film is paused, Zhang’s dream and that of her family. The young scientist was killed months before she had planned to get married.

“My daughter is not to wear a wedding dress,” Lifeng, Ye said. “I really wanted to be a grandmother.”

Zhang’s father, Ronggao Before, and called when a photo of him and his daughter at a train station when she was in the united states in My life, without it, it will not be complete,” he told the jury.

Her best friend, Xiaolin Hou, testified that the family members who have hoped that the body would be found, for burial in China. Prosecutors indicated in court filings that the Film would have been destroyed in the debris.

District attorney Eugene Miller, said the Film made as an undercover agent and lured to Zhang, in the car, when it was too late for you to sign for an apartment for rent. The solid Film is likely to force a 5-foot-4 Before it in a long duffel bag that he had bought online in the days before, and carried her over to his apartment in a Few, ” says Miller. Once inside, he raped her and killed her.

Zhang had been in Illinois for just over three months, the only time living outside of China.

Prosecutors said that Zhang was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and in that Film, who knew about the deaths, it was determined to take the life of someone that day. She told me that he had been contacted by one other woman before, who is posing as an officer, but she refused to get in the car.


Attorney Julie Brain told the jurors that Christensen was having a hard time with the mental health issues and had tried to get help in dealing with the interests and fantasies in the months prior to the killing of Zhang.

“What happened after that, it was a … the battle between Brendt and his demons, who are, little by little, he did,” Brain said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.

Most popular