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The defense attorneys for a former University of Illinois doctoral student who is admitted to the jury Wednesday that their clients are brutally captured and killed a foreign exchange student from China, but insists that he is “on trial for its life”, in a case that could warrant the death penalty.
“Brendt Christensen, killed, Yingying Zhang,” Christensen’s attorney, George Tesseff, said to the jury, even though he has disputed the important details, the prosecution version of the events that led to the death of 26-year-old aspiring professor.
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Prosecutors allege that Christensen, a 29-year-old former physics student, he became obsessed with serial killers-month period prior to the attack, and led Zhang into his vehicle on June 9, 2017. She was on her way to signing a lease for an off-campus apartment, and had just missed the bus, when Christensen approached her in his car and told her to get in. He told her he was an undercover police officer and needed to ask her a few questions.
Zhang, who had only been in the US for the next two months, and was fluent in English, required.
Christensen, reed, Zhang, to his apartment, where he bound and raped her in his bedroom, later to be cross with her, as evidenced by the blood spatter in the room. Miss Zhang, a petite 5-foot-4, tried to fight back, but the Film went on to choke her. Then he dragged her to the bathroom, bashing, and “split her head open with a baseball bat, according to the district attorney Eugene Miller. He beheaded her and disposed of her body, which has never been found.
Prosecutors will have to prove that the Zhang’s death, in the absence of a physical body, but with the mounting evidence, including a cadaver-sniffing dog to be used by the authorities in the Film’s apartment, it turns out that a dead body had been.
Zhang’s parents came to the U.S. from China to help in the search for their daughter after her disappearance in 2017 and will be returned to the Illinois, together with mrs. Zhang’s boyfriend in the process.
Christensen’s friend, assisted by the FBI, in securing his arrest and to wear a wire, he was arrested on his birthday on June 30, 2017. It is to be a witness of the public prosecutor’s office in the process.
Miller dropped a bombshell at the opening of the accounts, as he told the court that Christensen was caught on an FBI wiretap boasting that he had killed 12 other people before, Zhang argues, that has yet to be confirmed by the authorities.
Attorney Tesseff pushed back on those claims, saying that his client was a heavy drinker, and was drunk when he made those statements.
Christensen could face the death penalty if he is convicted of murder, marking the first death penalty case ever since, and Illinois are excluded from the death penalty.
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The jury consists of 12 people, who believe in the death penalty, and the criteria that must be met in a federal death penalty case.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.