Illinois jury reaches murder verdict in two hours
PEORIA, Ill. — A federal jury on Monday found Brendt Christensen guilty in the kidnapping and murder of Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang in Champaign-Urbana in 2017.
The jury reached the verdict after less than two hours of deliberations. The 12-member panel will now be asked to decide whether Christensen, 29, should be sentenced to death for the crime. That process is expected to begin July 8.
Christensen sat expressionless as the verdict was read.
The verdict did not come as a surprise — Christensen’s attorneys admitted in their opening statement that he killed Zhang, a 26-year-old visiting scholar at the University of Illinois.