PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — A federal judge has delayed until June the trial of the man accused of kidnapping and killing a University of Illinois scholar from China.
U.S. District Judge James Shadid on Thursday approved the two-month delay, setting Brendt Christensen’s trial for June 3. Christensen’s trial was to begin April 1, but defense attorneys requested more time to prepare a mental-health expert.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, saying Christensen tortured 26-year-old Yingying Zhang before killing her in Urbana, Illinois, in April 2017. He has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping resulting in death. Zhang’s body has never been found.
The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports that proceedings are expected to last two months. The court is to begin mailing summonses to potential jurors March 4.