Jury has questions for court during deliberations for Christensen’s sentence


Julie Brain (left) and Elisabeth Pollock (right), members of Brendt Christensen’s defense team, walk out of the courthouse on Monday. The defense is expected to rest their case on Tuesday, followed by closing statements from both sides on Wednesday.

By Samantha Boyle, News Editor

Since the jury started deliberations in Brendt Christensen’s sentencing, court reconvened to answer a few questions asked by the jury.

The question was written down by the jury and brought out by a law clerk for both parties and the judge to look at and answer.

Around 3 p.m. Wednesday, the jury’s first question was regarding the aggravating factor of the future danger of Christensen.

One of the non-statutory aggravating factors the government was to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Christensen would pose a future danger. The jury asked if this danger referred to Christensen in prison, outside of prison or if he would’ve never been caught.

After both parties gave their opinions, it was decided Judge James Shadid would just circle “prison” and send it back to the jury.

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    Once this answer was sent back, the jury had two more questions for the court, both regarding the mitigating factors.

    The first question asked if the jurors were supposed to quantify the number of jurors who were in agreement of each mitigating factor. Both parties simply stated the answer to this: “Yes.”

    The second question asked if at this stage in the weighing process the jury is supposed to look at these factors as mitigating factors. To answer this question, the jury would be referred to the instructions each juror got at the start of the deliberation process, referring them to the section about weighing aggravating and mitigating factors.

    The jury will continue to deliberate. Check back at The Daily Illini for more updates.

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