STORY HIGHLIGHTS


Defense Lawyer: Brendt Christensen killed Chinese scholar

CNC
Added On June 14, 2019

 The revelation came during opening statements in the trial of Brendt Christensen on Wednesday in Peoria, U.S. state of Illinois.

 
Christensen's defense attorney George Taseff said in court that the 28-year-old defendant is responsible for the death of Zhang Yingying.
 
He said the trial would be an effort to spare Christensen the death penalty.
 
Wang Zhidong, legal advisor to Zhang's family, said the defense's acknowledgment is the most surprising part of the trial.
 
He held it as a strategy by the defense to avoid death penalty.
As the defense did not make any objections and cross inquiries in the morning session, Wang estimated the trial may progress faster than originally expected.
 
SOUNDBITE(CHINESE) WANG ZHIDONG, Legal Advisor to Zhang's Family
"The grief-ridden family can not get over the loss of Zhang and the fact that her whereabout is still unknown. All they want is to bring Zhang back home."
 
Zhang, a 26-year-old visiting Chinese scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), went missing on June 9, 2017.
Christensen, a former UIUC doctoral student, was arrested on June 30, 2017, and charged with kidnapping, torturing, and killing Zhang.
 
He pleaded not guilty.