Christensen denied motion for trial delay


Photo courtesy of University of Illinois Police Department

Photo of Brendt Christensen, alleged kidnapper and killer of visiting Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang. Recent court documents revealed Christensen visited the University Counseling Center three months before Zhang’s disappearance.

By Daily Illini Staff Report

Brendt Christensen’s motion to move trial dates to October 2018 for his alleged kidnapping of Chinese scholar, Yingying Zhang, was denied Nov. 15, and the trial date will remain for Feb. 27, 2018.

The court order said the defendant will not need more than five and  half months to prepare for the trial. Christensen’s public defenders initially asked for more time due to the prosecution possibly seeking the death penalty. 

Prosecutors have until Feb. 1 to provide a notice of intent, and the trial date will stay put until then.

“Both parties should be aware that underlying the court’s ruling on Defendant’s motion to continue is the premise that the prosecution is not seeking the death penalty,” the court filing stated.

The file cited the Speedy Trial Act, noting the court must recognize public interest in a resolution and protecting the defendant’s rights.

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The trial taking place in February 2018 is roughly seven and a half months after Christensen was arrested and originally indicted in July.

The government will provide analysis of forensic evidence and written summaries of expert testimony to be used as evidence no later than Dec. 15.

Any pretrial motions must be filed before Jan. 15, 2018, and responses to the motions will be filed no later than Jan. 29, 2018.

All final pretrial documents will be filed no later than Feb. 9, 2018.

The final pretrial is set for Feb. 12, 2018, and the jury trial will be Feb. 27, 2018.

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