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Yingying Zhang disappeared on June 9, 2017. (University of Illinois Police Department). Inset: Brendt Christensen (Macon County Sheriff’s Department)

Prosecutors are building a case, partly on a bloody handprint and the responses of a cadaver-sniffing dog, that a former University of Illinois physics student killed a 26-year-old Chinese scholar in 2017 at his off-campus apartment.

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Yingying Zhang disappeared on June 9, 2017. (University of Illinois Police Department). Inset: Brendt Christensen (Macon County Sheriff’s Department)

Lawyers for the man charged with kidnapping and killing a Chinese University of Illinois scholar have argued the case should be heard in state court, where the death penalty isn’t an option.

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Yingying Zhang disappeared on June 9, 2017. (University of Illinois Police Department). Inset: Brendt Christensen (Macon County Sheriff’s Department)

A federal judge rules the upcoming trial of Brendt Christensen will be moved from Urbana to Peoria. He is charged with the kidnapping and death of 26-year-old Yingying Zhang.

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Yingying Zhang disappeared on June 9, 2017. (University of Illinois Police Department). Inset: Brendt Christensen (Macon County Sheriff’s Department)

Defense attorneys say they need more than a year to adequately prepare for trial in the case of a Champaign man facing the death penalty in the disappearance and death of a University of Illinois scholar.

Prosecutors won’t object to continuance in capital case

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Yingying Zhang disappeared on June 9, 2017. (University of Illinois Police Department). Inset: Brendt Christensen (Macon County Sheriff’s Department)

Attorneys for Brendt Christensen are hoping to postpone a February trial date after prosecutors announced their intent to seek the death penalty.

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Yingying Zhang disappeared on June 9, 2017. (University of Illinois Police Department). Inset: Brendt Christensen (Macon County Sheriff’s Department)

In a five-page filing Friday afternoon, U.S. Attorney John Childress says a “sentence of death is justified” against Brendt Christiansen if he is convicted in the death of 26-year-old Yingying Zhang.

Potential capital case scheduled for trial next month

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Brendt Christensen (Macon County Sheriff's Department)

Attorneys for Brendt Christensen have filed new motions challenging the federal jurisdiction over the potential capital case and seeking to have the top count thrown out.

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Yingying Zhang disappeared on June 9. (University of Illinois Police Department)

Yingying Zhang disappeared in June. Now, attorneys for the man accused in her kidnapping and death are requesting a delay in the trial, in part because they want to investigate possible sightings of the victim.

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Brendt Christensen (Macon County Sheriff's Department)

A new charge against 28-year-old suspect Brendt Christensen opens up the possibility of the death penalty for the Champaign man charged in the disappearance and murder of a Chinese student.