Yingying Zhang’s family testifies during second day of penalty phase


Xinyang Zhang, Yingying’s brother (right), leads their mother Lifeng Ye (center) after the family addresses the public. Ronggao Zhang, Yingying and Xinyang’s father (left), made the statement. Brendt Christensen was found guilty by the jury on June 24.

By Samantha Boyle, News Editor

The second day of the penalty phase, which will decide if Brendt Christensen will serve a life prison sentence or face the death penalty, continued on Tuesday with testimonies from Yingying Zhang’s family.

As Christensen was found guilty toward the end of June of kidnapping resulting in death, the jury must now decide his punishment. Opening statements and the first few testimonies began Monday afternoon.

On Tuesday, Xiaolin Hou, Zhang’s boyfriend, was still on the stand as he was also the last witness to testify on Monday. Ronggao Zhang, Yingying’s father testified in person and a video of Yingying’s mother, Lifeng Ye, was played for the jury. Both gave emotional statements of the impact Yingying’s disappearance has had.

Additionally, recordings of phone calls Christensen made from jail were played for the jury. Phone calls between Christensen and his ex-wife, mother and father were played.

Christensen’s father plans to testify on Wednesday.

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