Jurors Watch FBI Video of Suspect in Chinese Scholar's Death

Defense attorneys seeking to spare him a possible death sentence have told jurors that Brendt Christensen killed Zhang.

Jurors in the trial of a former University of Illinois doctoral student accused of killing a visiting scholar from China watched video of the suspect explaining to an FBI agent that the woman looked "panicky" when he spotted her and offered her a ride. 

The News-Gazette reported that jurors on Friday watched Brendt Christensen tell an FBI agent that he wasn't in a good mood on the June 2017 day when he spotted 26-year-old Yingying Zhang as he drove near the Champaign-Urbana campus. 

Zhang's body has never been found, but prosecutors contend Christensen kidnapped, raped and beat Zhang to death and decapitated her.

His trial is in federal court. 

Defense attorneys seeking to spare him a possible death sentence have told jurors that he killed Zhang.

Testimony on Thursday revealed that Christensen bought Drano and garbage bags three days after the slaying. 

The News-Gazette reported that an FBI agent testified about the massive search for Zhang that extended from local parks to a coal mine 30 miles away but didn't produce any evidence of what happened to Zhang who's never been found and who is presumed dead. 

Prosecutors say she was raped, choked, stabbed and beaten with a baseball bat before being decapitated.

In the first day of the trial, prosecutor Eugene Miller revealed for the first time that Christensen was captured on an FBI wiretap bragging that Zhang had been his 13th victim. But the prosecutor didn't offer additional details, nor did he say if authorities believed him. Miller appeared to broach the issue in order to demonstrate Christensen's quest to be known as a serial killer.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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