Chinese scholar kidnapping case man pleads not guilty to new charge

Added On October 13, 2017

An American pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to a new, more serious charge of kidnapping resulting in death of a Chinese scholar.
28-year-old Brendt Christensen was given three counts of charges, namely kidnapping resulting in death and two counts of making false statements to FBI agents.
He was previously charged with kidnapping Zhang Yingying, a visiting Chinese scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in June.
When the suspect entered the courthouse on Wednesday, Zhang's mother began weeping.
She had to be helped from the room before Brendt Christensen's hearing could start.
Preliminary hearing will be held on Feb. 12, 2018, and the final ruling of the case will be on Feb. 27, 2018.
U.S. lawyer Wang Zhidong says suspect pleading not guilty is within their expectation.
Wang has been offering legal support to the Zhangs on a voluntary basis.
However, Wang doubts the final ruling can be held on the set date announced by Long, citing the complexity of the case.
SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) WANG ZHIDONG, Legal consultant of the Zhangs
"Prosecutor’s office thought they had enough evidence. As to the process of the trial, the result could only be found after the case is closed. And as lawyers we know that many unexpected thing could happen during the trial."
If convicted of the charge, Christensen will face death penalty or mandatory life in prison.