Lawyers for accused kidnapper say they face glut of evidence

CHAMPAIGN, Ill.  — Lawyers for a man accused in the 2017 kidnapping and killing of a University of Illinois scholar from China say they have been overwhelmed by evidence.

In a Friday court filing, Assistant Federal Defender Elisabeth Pollock wrote the defense has received approximately 11,500 pages of written discovery. She has also received dozens of disks containing audio and video recordings, photographs, computer and telephone forensics.

Pollock said defense attorneys want prosecutors to disclose which evidence they’ll use at trial. Not doing so she wrote “unfairly forces defense counsel to defend against the entirety of the enormous volume of government discovery in this case.”

Government attorneys announced Jan. 19 that they’ll seek the death penalty. They say it’s called for, because Christensen allegedly tortured 26-year-old Yingying Zhang before killing her. Her body hasn’t been found.

Jury selection for the trial is scheduled to begin April.