Christensen’s trial delayed until June 3


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 YooJin Son, Assistant Daytime News Editor

Alleged kidnapper Brendt Christensen’s trial has been delayed until June 3 in Peoria, Illinois.

Christensen, who was arrested June 30, 2017, is charged with kidnapping that resulted in the murder of Chinese visiting scholar, Yingying Zhang.

The trial has been delayed and pushed several times over the past two years. 

The trial, originally scheduled to begin April 1, was approved for a two-month delay by U.S. District Judge James Shadid today after Christensen’s attorneys said his psychiatrist would not have enough time to prepare an expert testimony by the trial date.

Christensen’s attorneys are trying to prepare a mental health defense. If successful, Christensen might avoid the death penalty. 

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While Julie Brain, a lawyer on Christensen’s case, knew the psychiatrist needed more time, they did not ask for the trial to be pushed back until recently this month.

Shadid wrote that by delaying the trial, the court has reduced any potential prejudice to Christensen that may have risen by the mistakes of his lawyers.

By June, Shadid argued, the new psychiatrist will have adequate time to examine the accused and prepare an expert testimony for the jury.

Zhang’s family requested the trial not to be delayed past the two-year anniversary of her disappearance, June 9, 2017. Shadid said he took the family’s wishes into consideration when setting the trial for June 3.

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