Trial of Yingying Zhang’s accused murderer moved to Peoria


The Daily Illini File Photo

At the memorial Jiheng Jing, vice president of the Chinese Student and Scholars Association, announced plans to build a small garden at the bus stop at corner of Goodwin Avenue and Clark Street where Yingying Zhang went missing.

By The Daily Illini Staff Report

Brendt Christensen, the alleged killer of Chinese visiting scholar Yingying Zhang in 2017, has had his case transferred from Urbana to Peoria.

According to the court order, Christensen’s attorneys requested the case transfer for convenience purposes, saying the change would help Christensen to increased courthouse capacity, more convenience to parties involved in the case and the ability to manage case filings.

Christensen’s attorneys also believe there is prejudicial pretrial publicity in Urbana which could prevent Christensen from obtaining a fair trial.

The court order assessed how this request would affect the victim, saying the move would be an inconvenience for them, as the family of Yingying Zhang intended to be present for the trial.

Christensen’s attorneys requested a change in venue from Urbana to Peoria as well, again citing prejudicial pretrial publicity.

U.S. District Judge James Shadid granted Christensen’s request for a case transfer but denied his request for a change in venue.

Christensen is accused of kidnapping and killing Chinese visiting scholar Yingying Zhang, after she went missing on June 9, 2017. Her body has not been found. State attorneys are seeking the death penalty for Christensen.

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