Judge denies request to delay sentencing phase in Chinese scholar slaying trial

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-04 11:06:45|Editor: Yang Yi
Video PlayerClose

A sketch provided by Christine Cornell shows Brendt Christensen (R, Front) during a trial at a federal court in Peoria, Illinois, the United States, on June 24, 2019. Brendt Christensen, a former doctoral student in University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), was found guilty on Monday of the kidnapping and killing of Zhang Yingying, a visiting Chinese scholar at UIUC in 2017. (Xinhua)

CHICAGO, July 3 (Xinhua) -- U.S. District Judge James Shadid denied a defense request to delay the start of Brendt Christensen's sentencing, a lawyer of the victim's family told Xinhua on Wednesday.

A jury at a federal court of Peoria in the U.S. state of Illinois last week unanimously ruled that Christensen was guilty of kidnapping which resulted in the death of visiting Chinese scholar Zhang Yingying in 2017.

Wang Zhidong, legal advisor to Zhang's family, told Xinhua on Wednesday the defense on Tuesday requested the judge to bar what they call a last-minute volume of evidence from their client's sentencing, or delay the sentencing phase from July 8 in Peoria to July 29.

According to Wang, Shadid denied Christensen's attorneys' request. The judge ordered prosecutors to turn over to the defense specific "victim impact video clips" the government plans to play at sentencing.

Zhang Yingying's family members meet the press near the federal courthouse building in Peoria, Illinois, the United States, on June 24, 2019. (Xinhua/Wang Ping)

Prosecutors must also provide transcripts of those short videos and transcripts of the uncut videos by 5 p.m. Wednesday. Prosecutors said they will comply.

Christensen's sentencing is set to start Monday when a jury will decide if he gets death penalty or life in prison.

Zhang Yingying, a 26-year-old Chinese scholar, went missing on June 9, 2017, after getting into a black Saturn Astra about five blocks away from where she got off a bus on her way to an apartment complex to sign a lease.

Christensen was arrested on June 30, 2017, after being caught on tape pointing out people he described as "ideal victims" during a vigil in Zhang's honor.