Originally published on June 12, 2019 11:56 am
PEORIA -- A federal prosecutor has shared with jurors grisly details of how they claim a former University of Illinois doctoral student kidnapped a visiting scholar from China, then brutally beat and killed her.
Opening statements began Wednesday in the federal death-penalty trial of Brendt Christensen. Christensen is accused of luring 26-gear-old Yingying Zhang into his car in June, 2017 as she headed to sign a lease off campus.
Prosecutors told jurors Wednesday that Christensen took Zhang to his apartment where he raped, choked and stabbed her in his bedroom. They said Christensen later pummeled her in the head with a baseball bat in his bathroom before decapitating her.
The case is being closely watched by Chinese students across the U.S. The University of Illinois has more than 5,000 Chinese students, among the largest such enrollments in the nation.
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